At least four persons were killed and one was seriously injured after a fire broke out at a manufacturing unit of Laurus Lab, in Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City of Andhra Pradeshâ€™s Anakapalle district. The incident occurred due to the leakage of toluene from a pipeline, when the four deceased, among whom were employees and contract workers, were cleaning a reactor, according to reports. The four men killed in the fire were identified as Rambabu from Khammam, Rajesh Babu from Guntur, and Ramakrishna and Venkata Rao from Anakapalle district. Toluene is a colourless liquid that is often used in paint thinner and other substances.
The incident happened at the JN Pharma City, a pharmaceutical SEZ (special economic zone) in Parawada mandal. The bodies of the victims were shifted to the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam for post-mortem. A factories department official told The New Indian Express that around 500 workers were on duty at the time of the incident.
Many incidents of explosions and gas leaks have been reported from industries in Andhra Pradesh in recent years, especially around Visakhapatnam where many SEZs are located. Twice this year, in June and August, several women working at the Brandix India Apparel City SEZ in the Atchutapuram area of Anakapalle district were hospitalised after alleged gas leaks.
In August, two workers were killed after an iron girder fell on them in the Parry Sugars Refinery factory near Kakinada. The workers were crushed under the girder which fell on them from a height, and two more workers were injured. This was the second fatal accident at the factory in a span of 10 days. A few days earlier, two persons were killed and nine were injured in a blast at the same factory.
In March, two employees were killed in a blast at a pharmaceutical company in the East Godavari district. The incident took place at Tyche Industries, located in the Auto Nagar area of Sarpavaram in the suburbs of Kakinada.