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May 24, 2024

Tragedy Strikes: Death Toll Climbs to 9 in Thane Chemical Factory Blast; Owners Facing Legal Action

Tragedy struck Maharashtra’s Thane district as the death toll from a devastating chemical factory blast climbed to nine, with officials uncovering yet another victim amidst the wreckage on Friday. The explosion, which rocked the Amudan Chemicals unit situated in Phase 2 of Dombivli MIDC, has not only claimed lives but also left a trail of destruction and anguish in its wake.

Authorities revealed that the owners of the ill-fated factory now face charges of culpable homicide as the magnitude of the disaster unfolds. Kalyan Tehsildar Sachin Shejal expressed grave concerns, hinting at the possibility of more casualties as rescue teams painstakingly comb through the debris. A total of 64 individuals, including numerous women from nearby factories, sustained injuries and are currently receiving medical attention across six different hospitals. AIMS hospital in Dombivli alone is treating two dozen patients, highlighting the severity of the incident.

The harrowing incident occurred when a boiler within the factory premises exploded on a fateful Thursday afternoon, triggering a catastrophic chain reaction of fire and chaos. The ensuing inferno not only engulfed the Amudan Chemicals facility but also inflicted collateral damage on adjacent properties and residences, amplifying the scale of the tragedy.

In a race against time, ten fire engines were deployed to battle the blaze, which raged on until late into the night. Presently, efforts are concentrated on cooling operations as authorities grapple with the aftermath of the disaster. Kailas Nikam from the Disaster Management Cell of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) emphasized the pervasive stench of burnt chemicals that permeates the air, underscoring the magnitude of the environmental impact.

The aftermath of the catastrophe demands meticulous assessment, with the initiation of ‘panchnama’ proceedings slated to pave the way for further legal action. Meanwhile, the Manpada police in Dombivli have lodged a case against the factory proprietors under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, highlighting the gravity of the situation. Tehsildar Shejal divulged that the charred remains of the deceased have been transported to government hospitals for post-mortem examination, a grim testament to the severity of the incident.

As investigations unfold, a senior official from the Thane police commissionerate disclosed the formation of specialized teams tasked with unravelling the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Notably, scrutiny will extend to government officials responsible for regulatory oversight, signaling a commitment to accountability and justice in the face of adversity.

According to insights from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the chemical factory specialized in the production of food colors and utilized peroxides—highly reactive and volatile substances known for their potential to cause catastrophic explosions. Eyewitness accounts attest to the deafening roar of the blast, audible from a kilometre away, underscoring the magnitude of the calamity.

The repercussions of the explosion reverberated beyond the factory premises, with reports of cracked glass windows and damaged residences in the vicinity. In the wake of this tragedy, a community mourns its losses while grappling with the enduring scars of destruction and despair.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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