A significant fire broke out in a pharmaceutical plant in Turbhe, Navi Mumbai on Sunday evening after a blast in a reactor. The flames from the reactor caused injuries to seven labourers working at the plant at that point in time.
It took more than 15 fire motors from Turbhe MIDC, Vashi, Nerul, CBD fire stations, and Pawane MIDC Emergency Response station and 4 hours to douse the fire. The fire was finally brought under control at around 9 pm. There were around 50 workers in the second shift at the time of the blast.The injured laborers have been admitted to NMMC doctor’s facility in Vashi. The blast took place in a reactor at the plant due to exorbitant pressure created in the vessel when the chemical reaction with solvents was in progress.
The solvent drums added as fuel to the fire and spread to the nearby building which stored around 250 barrels of various chemical solvents. Sunil Patil, an operator at the plant’s production department, said, “Upon hearing an explosion like a bomb blast, all the workers rushed out immediately. There were repeated blasts as the solvent drums exploded one after the other.”
A worker suggested that spraying water to douse the fire would be useless as it does not douse solvents like mythylene dichloride, toluene, ethyl acetate and methanol stored in huge quantities in the factory. Spraying foam would be the only solution to this,
Vashi fire brigade’s assistant station officer, Vivek Mhatre, said, “Four workers were trapped inside the plant as they were injured in the blast, but fortunately, they were rescued before the fire engulfed the factory. Initially, we used water to extinguish the fire, but it was ineffective on the chemical solvents. Hence, we started spraying foam which helped get the fire under control.”