Pics by Rons Bantwal
Mumbai, Jun 22: A major fire broke out in a chemical godown near Rahnal at Valgaon in Bhiwandi around 11.30 am on Monday.
Though no one was injured, the fire destroyed nearly 10 godowns in two compounds, which house mainly chemical godowns.
"There are 19 godowns in Padmavati complex and an equal number in Bhoir compound. In Padmavati, six godowns were gutted whereas in Bhoir another five-six godowns were gutted. We faced difficulty while fighting the fire because we didn’t know what chemicals were inside,” said deputy fire officer of Bhiwandi fire brigade Yashwant Jadhav.
“We have controlled the fire in Padmavati and are trying to control the fire in Bhoir compound. Though the exact cause of fire is not known, it could have sparked off due to short circuit,” said Yashwant Jadhav, deputy fire officer of Bhiwandi fire brigade.
Around 10 fire tenders and water tankers were called in from the fire brigades at Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan and Bhiwandi.
The fire is said to have started from Om Sai warehouse and then spread to other godowns. Since the godowns contained barrels of chemicals, the barrels sky-rocketed on catching fire and fell on nearby godowns.
The entire area was covered in acrid smoke due to the fire, which could be seen 15 kms away. “The fire brigade received a call at 12.25 pm and the officials rushed to the spot. We immediately evacuated the labourers from the nearby godowns because the smoke could have caused a breathing problem. The fire is under control but it would take another three hours to douse it completely,” said Sanjay Deshpande, Bhiwandi's disaster management head.
‘We can only assess the monetary loss after the fire is doused. These godowns fall under the Gram Panchayat and therefore it cannot be said whether they are legal or illegal,” he said.
Both fire and police officials said that it was too early to suspect sabotage.
“A case of accidental fire has been registered at Narpoli police station as of now,” said C.G. Daithankar, assistant commissioner of police (zone II).