Eluru: Six workers were charred to death and 12 others injured when a fire broke out in Porus Laboratories Private Limited in Akkireddy Gudem of Eluru district on Wednesday night. The severely injured were immediately shifted to Vijayawada government hospital for better treatment. The factory uses Nitric Acid, Monomethyl, and Sulphuric acid in liquid form, and a powder used in the pharmaceutical industry is being manufactured in the factory.
The deceased are identified as Manoj Kumar (25), Abbu Das (27), K Ravi Das (40), Suvas Ravi Das (32), M Kiran (25), and B Kiran (35).
As per the preliminary information, 150 people are working in shifts in the factory. At the time of the accident, 20 people were working in the unit. The incident occurred when a gas leak caused a massive explosion at Unit 4 in the chemical factory. Five persons died on the spot, while another succumbed en route to the hospital. Of the dead, four workers are migrants from Bihar.
The injured were shifted to Nuziveedu Hospital for treatment. After their condition deteriorated, they were shifted to Vijayawada for specialized treatment. Fire tenders rushed to the spot and they brought the blaze under control.
Eluru District Superintendent of Police (SP) Rahul Dev Sharma said the cause of the fire and the deceased's identity are yet to be ascertained.
According to the workers, the fire was caused due to the owner's negligence. They said a sugar factory was converted into the chemical industry. They accused the management of negligence. They said even the ambulance was not called after the accident.
Local residents have demanded immediate closure of the factory. They said it is a health hazard. "There is no use in having this factory in our area. It has witnessed fire incidents in the past too. Previously, animals died in the nearby lakes allegedly due to poisonous gas leak," said a woman from Akkireddy Gudem.
CM announces ex-gratia
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the incident. He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh to the kin of each deceased, Rs 5 lakh for the critically injured, and Rs 2 lakh to those who sustained minor injuries. Officials have been instructed to monitor the health of the injured. The SP and district collector have been directed to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.