One killed, four injured in Vizag Pharma City fire

Visakhapatnam: A man died and four others were injured in a massive fire that broke out at Visakha Solvents plant at Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City in Parwada on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam on Monday night.

The fire was put off after a seven-hour long operation involving seven fire tenders, police said.

Though authorities claimed Monday night that there were no casualties, a charred body was found in the debris on Tuesday morning. He was identified as senior chemist K. Srinivas Rao, 40.

Four others were injured in the incident. One of them G. Mallesh (33) was admitted to a private hospital. Three employees sustained minor injuries.

Revenue Division Officer (RDP) P. Kishore said the fire was completely doused.

The fire broke out in a chemical reactor and created loud explosions spreading a panic in Pharma City and nearby residential areas after recent episodes of major blaze on June 29 and May 7. People were seen shifting to safer places.

Initially, the fire tenders could not reach closer to the plant due to a series of explosions.

Visakhapatnam District Collector Vinay Chand rushed to the scene and monitored the fire fighting operation.

Trade unions alleged that the negligence by the company management led to the incident. Police arrested CITU leader Satyanarayana when he tried to stage a protest outside the plant.

State Minister for Industries, M. Goutham Reddy spoke to officials about the incident and directed them to ensure best treatment of the injured.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu also tweeted about the fire. “Shocked to hear about the explosion in Vizag’s Pharma City. The visuals coming in look dreadful. I pray that the workers doing the night shift inside the premises come out safely.”

The incident occurred two weeks after a gas leak from a pharmaceutical unit in Pharma City, which claimed the lives of two people and affected four others. The incident occurred at Sainor Life Sciences Private Limited on June 29. It was the second industrial disaster to strike the port city in less than two months.

The Sainor fire came close on the heels of the May 7 disaster at LG Polymers plant at Venkatapuram. Styrene gas leaked from the plant and claimed the lives of 15 people and affected around 500 in the surrounding villages.

(inputs from IANS)

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