Three contract workers were burnt alive following a blast at the new service block of the dairy plant of Heritage Foods (India) Ltd here in Kasimkota mandal, about 60 km from Visakhapatnam, on Sunday.
“An electro-mechanical failure during trial commissioning led to the fire resulting in loss of life,” Heritage Foods (India) Ltd president M. Sambasiva Rao said in a release. The victims were identified as Dharma Veer from Bihar, Manoj from Jharkhand and G. Sudhakar from Medak, CI of Police R. Govind Rao said.
The charred remains of the deceased could not be shifted to the hospital for post-mortem for several hours due to smoke emanating from the block where newly installed refrigeration section-2 was located. Fire engulfed the entire premises within no time giving no scope to the workers to escape. They were on the rolls of Thermal Engineers, a firm engaged by Heritage for carrying out insulation work. The incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. at the new service block of the company.
The regular production block remained unaffected, company officials said. The new machinery was brought recently from Germany to save power consumption and enhance production.
Preliminary enquiry stated that leakage of ammonia near the oil receiver machine led to the accident. “We are working on clues and will come to a conclusion on the exact cause of the accident after detailed investigation,” Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories D. Chandrasekhar Varma said. Minister for Investment and Infrastructure Ganta Srinivasa Rao, TDP rural district president Dadi Ratnakar and others visited the accident spot. The management announced financial assistance of Rs.10 lakh for each family of the deceased in addition to compensation due under Workmen’s Compensation Act. The company also announced a regular job in Heritage Foods to one willing member of the family and support towards the children.