A massive fire broke out following an explosion at a pharmaceutical unit near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Monday late night. According to officials, a junior operator who was in the unit is still missing. Another worker is being treated for injuries.
Officials have yet to ascertain the reason behind the explosion and fire at Visakha Solvent in Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City, which occurred around 10.30 pm. "It's a solvent recovery unit. We have heard that there was an apparent flash fire at the time of sample collection. We will find out more once the person who is undergoing treatment is able to talk," Joint Chief Inspector of Factories Vishakapatanam, J Siva Sankar Reddy, told TNM.
Reddy noted that four persons were in the unit at the time of the fire — a security guard, a chemist, a junior operator and a senior chemist. The chemist is being treated for injuries at RK Hospital in Gajuvaka.
The explosion was heard in areas surrounding at Pharma City, according to reports. After the fire broke out, there were multiple blasts as a reactor caught fire, officials told TNM. Fire and emergency services battled the flames, which were brought under control by 6 am on Tuesday.
Visuals of the fire on social media showed the flames engulfing the building and black smoke billowing into the sky.
The incident, which occurred only months after a gas leak at the LG Polymers Plant in the region claimed 12 lives, triggered panic among the residents in the Paravada area.
Last month, another gas leak at a company in Pharma City left two workers dead and four injured.
(This is developing story)