Short circuit not cause of blaze; overheated rubber mixture may have sparked fire

A preliminary probe into the cause of the fire that gutted the banbury mixer unit of the Apollo Tyres factory in Kalamassery on Sunday night has ruled out electrical short circuit.

Officials of the company said that the fire could have been triggered by the overheating of the rubber compound manufactured at the unit. This was supported by sources in the Electrical Inspectorate, whose officials inspected the unit on Monday. They ruled out problems with the unit’s electrical connections. It is at the banbury unit that different raw materials for manufacturing tyres are mixed.

“Steps are being taken to resume normal production in three days. The unit, with a capacity to manufacture 100 tonnes of tyres daily, was manufacturing 65 tonnes. The rubber compound will be sourced from our sister concerns, since the banbury machine was gutted and the insurance firm has to assess the damage. Luckily, workers did not suffer injuries and there is no major damage to the building,” said officials of Apollo. Sources at the Electrical Inspectorate said there was no evidence to suggest that an electrical short circuit caused the fire.

“Other reasons are possible, for which we need to put together all the evidence. It is possible that the fire was ignited by an imbalance (or overheating) of the hot mixture that was being poured from above. The fire could have been triggered as the mixture came into contact with the atmospheric oxygen,” they said.

More In: Kochi