Death toll rises to 10 in Thane chemical factory blast; owners booked for culpable homicide

The work of ‘panchnama’ (assessment) will be taken up and further action will be initiated, said a revenue department official

Updated - May 24, 2024 12:26 pm IST

Published - May 24, 2024 10:41 am IST - Thane

Smoke billows after a fire broke out due to a boiler blast in a chemicals factory, at Dombivli, in Thane district, Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Smoke billows after a fire broke out due to a boiler blast in a chemicals factory, at Dombivli, in Thane district, Thursday, May 23, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The death toll in the chemical factory blast in Maharashtra’s Thane district rose to 10 with the discovery of three more bodies from the accident site, officials said on Friday.

Police have registered a case of culpable homicide against the owners of Amudan Chemicals - Malti Pradeep Mehta, Malay Pradeep Mehta along with the director, administrator and other officials of the company in the Dombivali boiler blast case. A case was registered under sections 304, 324, 326, 285, 286, 427 and 34 of IPC.

Many killed in Thane chemical factory blast

Kalyan Tehsildar Sachin Shejal said the death toll has risen to 10 and it might go up as they suspect more bodies are lying on the premises of the devastated factory. “The debris is being cleared,” said the official.

He said 64 persons, including many women from the factories in the vicinity, were injured and are being treated in at least six different hospitals. AIMS hospital in Dombivli is treating two dozen patients, he said.

A boiler exploded at the factory on Thursday afternoon and the impact of the blast and the resultant blaze affected adjacent factories and houses, according to officials.

Ten fire engines were pressed into service to control the blaze and the firefighting went past 11 p.m. on Thursday. “Now, cooling operations are underway,” said Kailas Nikam of the Disaster Management Cell of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC).

The area is filled with the acrid smell of burnt chemicals, he said.

The work of ‘panchnama’ (assessment) will be taken up and further action will be initiated, said a revenue department official.

The Manpada police in Dombivli have registered a case against the factory owners under Indian Penal Code section 304A (culpable homicide) and sections concerning explosive substances and hazardous chemicals.

Tehsildar Shejal said that the bodies of the deceased have been sent to government hospitals for post-mortem. “The bodies were charred and beyond recognition,” he said.

A senior official from the Thane police commissionerate said several police teams have been formed to probe the case. Those government officials responsible for granting permissions and carrying out inspections will be probed, he said.

The affected chemical factory produced food colours and uses peroxides that are highly reactive and unstable chemicals that can cause violent explosions under certain conditions, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said on Thursday.

The blast was so loud that it was heard a kilometre away, an eyewitness said.

Glass windows of adjoining buildings cracked while many houses in the vicinity were damaged, officials had said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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