Atleast 5 killed, 150 hurt in IOC depot fire

Five persons were killed and 150 injured when a major fire broke out after a petrol tanker exploded in Sitapura.

Jaipur: A massive fire broke out at Indian
Oil Coporation`s fuel depot in Sitapura industrial area in the
outskirts of the city Thursday night killing five persons and
injuring 150, police said.

State officials said the help of the Army was sought to
help douse the fire at the depot which is on the highway near
the airport.

"The fire is massive. We are finding it difficult to
douse it," Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said tonight three
hours after the fire spread to adjacent depots. The fire broke
out at around 7.30 pm and it may be several hours before it is
completely brought under control. Deora said he is leaving for
Jaipur tomorrow.

Dr Ashok Pangudia, Medical Superintendent at SMS
hospital, said two persons were brought dead at the hospital
while one person was reported to have died in a private
hospital. Some of the injured had splinter injuries, he said.

Huge flames shot into the air amid billowing smoke as
hundreds of people in the villages in and around the depot
panicked and fled from their homes. The fire also spread to
some industrial units in a radius of three km destroying them.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the assistance
of Army is being sought to help douse the fire. Some Army
jawans joined the rescue operations.

The injured were rushed to Mahatma Gandhi and SMS
hospitals. Some of them had serious burn injuries.

The fire broke out when petrol was being transferred
from the fuel depot to a pipeline. A leak in the pipeline is
suspected to have caused the blaze.

IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria told a news agency that the fire
broke out at a petrol storage tank and quickly spread to other
tanks. Police said several explosions were heard.

The IOC tank farm had 8 to 10 storage containers that
stored petrol, diesel kerosene for supply in Jaipur and
adjoining areas.

Special teams have been rushed to Jaipur to coordinate
the operations there, the officials said. IOC experts are also
being flown from Mumbai and New Delhi.

Deora has instructed IOC Director Marketing G C Dagga to
immediately rush to Jaipur to oversee the rescue operation.

Behuria and HPCL Chairman Arun Balakrishanan have been
asked to go to Jaipur tomorrow morning.

He said the depot was a modern depot and employs a
minimal work force 20 to 25 people and it was very unlikely
that many of them would have been present at the depot at the
time of the fire.

He said the fuel in the tank would be allowed to burn
out before bringing the fire under control.

Officials said steps were being taken to ensure that the
fire did not spread far through the pipeline.

Electricity in the area has been cut off as a
precautionary measure.

Rajasthan Health Minister Immamuddin Ahmed said two
bodies recovered from the fire site had been taken to Swai Man
Singh (SMS) Hospital here and another one to Fortis.

At least 50 of the injured have been admitted to SMS, he

Bureau Report

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