A three-member official committee has been set up by BPCL Kochi Refinery to investigate the fire which broke out at Kadavanthra where work on cutting an old pipeline was in progress on Tuesday night. The report is expected to be prepared within two-three days.

At present, BPCL is using an alternative pipeline to carry fuel. The old pipeline, which has not been in use for almost two years, is sought to be utilised for some other purpose. A sample portion of the pipeline was being removed in a bid to assess the quality of the pipe. Doubts have been raised as to whether the safety aspects were neglected while executing the job.

Three persons who were working at the site suffered burn injuries. One of them sustained over 50 per cent burns and was admitted to Kottayam Medical College. The other two were discharged from the hospital.

A senior official of the company said the accident occurred while cutting off a portion of the redundant pipeline.

Its portions were being removed as part of an inspection process.

There were traces of gaseous form of the fuel which caught fire.

The fire was apparently caused by a spark from a cracker which burst nearby on Deepavali day.

The official said the work was being carried out by the contractor in the night as it was considered convenient for operations.

Such works are being done in night, according to him.

The work pertained to removal of a portion for inspection and no more work was being carried out on the pipeline stretching from Fine Arts Hall premises to the refinery, crossing roads and railway line.

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