Three people were killed and 44 injured in a flash fire at the Indian Oil Corporation’s refinery in Haldia, East Midnapore, on Tuesday.
Of the injured, 16 were in critical condition and transferred to a private hospital in Kolkata for treatment, according to reports. The Indian fire department affirmed that they had managed to bring the blaze under control.
The incident occurred around 2.50 pm at the refinery’s motor spirit quality (MSQ) tower while some repair work was underway in the shut unit, according to a labourer.
“Welding was being carried out when a few sparks went into the tower, resulting in a huge ball of fire,” he said
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was “deeply anguished” by the massive fire.
“Three precious lives were lost and my thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. Those injured were brought to Kolkata through a green corridor,” she tweeted, noting that the state government would extend all assistance to ensure their speedy recovery.
On his part, Haldia Municipality chairman-in-council Asgar Ali affirmed that the authorities should have been more careful since a refinery is a dangerous zone.
“It is important to identify the negligence that caused the fire to ensure it does not recur,” Ali said.