One killed, 15 injured in Bhushan fire

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Dhenkanal: One person died and fifteen others were seriously injured in a major fire that broke out at the Blast Furnace (II) of Bhusan Steel plant on Wednesday at Meramundali, around 30 km from the district headquarters.  
 
According to sources, the injured labourers, one of them critically, have been shifted to SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack where their condition was stated to be critical. The deceased who had suffered more than 80 per cent burn was yet to be identified.
 
Rescue operation is on to trace more employees, feared trapped inside the ill-fated unit.
 
Though the exact cause of the mishap is yet to be ascertained, quoting plant authorities Dhenkanal collector Rupa Roshan Sahu said that the mishap occurred while the furnace was being commissioned in the morning.
 
“As per the plant officials, the incident took place at around 11 am when the hot metals were being poured in for commissioning the Blast Furnace (II) of the plant”, Sahu said.
 
“At present it is difficult to ascertain the intensity of damages as the area is completely inaccessible. Rescue operation has been launched as more people are apprehended to be trapped inside the unit”, added the official.
 
According to eyewitnesses working inside the plant, they heard an explosion inside the furnace and saw black smoke gushing out and spiraling out of the air vents. “We immediately fled the spot with other labourers.”
 
“I was working on a centring with three others in the furnace. We heard an explosion just behind us. Before we thought to leave the place, the fire has already reached us,” Durga Charan, who received burn injuries said adding there were some others working on the centring at a distance.
 
The fire tenders from Dhenkanal and Angul districts which were pressed into service took over 4 hours to control the blaze which resulted from the explosion. The district sub-collector along with police and other officials rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
 
"We have received report of one person being killed and some sustaining above 80 per cent burn injury in the fire at Bhushan Steel Plant.The state government has asked the factory and boiler authorities to immediately rush to the place of accident and probe into the cause of fire," said Labour and Employment minister Bijayshree Routray.
 
The minister said the government was waiting for the detail report.
 
Meawhile, the Deputy Director of Factories and Boilers has asked the plant authorities to close down the plant till further order.
 
Notably, four employees of the company were killed in an explosion in the plant on January 6 this year while another mishap in the same month had left many injured.

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