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Maharashtra factory blast: Rescue personnel complain of dizziness, retching

Given the intensity of the blast and the fire that followed it, officials fear that the death toll may rise.

Maharashtra factory blast: Rescue personnel complain of dizziness, retching

MUMBAI: At least 20 persons died and 50 others injured in a major explosion followed by fire at a chemical factory in Maharashtra`s Dhule district on Saturday morning. Several rescue personnel and police officers complained of dizziness and retching following a chemical leak at the accident site. As plumes of black hazardous smoke engulfed the area, the police fastened the process of shifting locals far from the site.

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Several fire brigades, police personnel and a team of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) has been deployed. A team of chemical experts and doctors also arrived at the location. An Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is inspecting the area for any signs of a conspiracy. First aid is being provided at the site.

The explosion took place at a chemical factory located at Waghadi village in Shirpur's Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation on Saturday morning. Preliminary information point at cylinders blast as the primary cause of the incident. No official information has been released on the matter or who owns the chemical factory. The magnitude of the explosion was so intense that buildings in surrounding villages shook.

Given the intensity of the blast and the fire that followed it, officials fear that the death toll may rise. Since MIDC's premises are far from the city, several workers reside within the company premises along with their families. At the time of the accident, nearly 100 workers were inside the factory. Among those injured include several children living in the area.

The police control room received a call about the explosion at 10.20 am. Treatment and rescue efforts were delayed after the first responders at the site feared multiple explosions would follow. The injured have been admitted to sub-district hospital. Those in critical condition have been shifted to private hospitals in the area.

“We have ordered an enquiry,” said Girish Mahajan, Dhule guardian minister. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief over loss of lives in the chemical factory explosion and announced Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

Home Minister Amit Shah and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot expressed condolences over the loss of lives. “Anguished to learn about the loss of lives due to explosion at a chemical factory in Dhule, Maharashtra. Have spoken to CM @Dev_Fadnavis, state govt is doing everything possible to assist the people in need. My condolences with the bereaved families. May injured recover soon,” tweeted Shah.

“Saddened to know about loss of lives in an explosion at a chemical factory in #Dhule, #Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families, may God give them strength. Prayers for speedy recovery of the injured,” tweeted Gehlot.

Waghadi village, where the incident took place, is 60 kms away from Dhule and 400 km from Mumbai.