According to police, no casualties have been reported.

Massive flames from Edayar chemical factory which got gutted in fire
news Fire Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 16:51

A massive fire that broke out in Ernakulam’s Edayar industrial belt in the wee hours of Saturday night, gutted two factories in the region. The fire that broke out in Orion Chemicals, an organic solvent factory later spread to the nearby rubber processing factory. According to the police, no casualties have been reported.

Edayar industrial belt is a region along the Periyar River near Eloor. The area is home to hundreds of industries. Visuals of the incident circulating on social media show dense smoke emanating from the factories. In one of the videos, a huge ball of fire can be seen rising up from the factory amidst the smoke.

Watch video of the fire

The fire was put out after close to two hours with over 30 firefighters being brought to the spot from various fire and rescue stations in the district. According to reports, three workers who were inside the chemical factory during the time of the incident, ran out on spotting the fire.

Though the exact reason for the fire is not yet known, Binanipuram police told TNM that a preliminary probe suggested the fire may have been sparked by lightning. People in the region who spoke to the media also stated that the region had witnessed major lightning and thunder during the night.

“The chemical factory had inflammable solvents and it is assumed that is why a major fire mishap occurred,” said the police officer. A detailed probe is on to find out the cause of the fire.

According to residents in the region, the area was filled with huge plumes of smoke when the fire broke.

Activists raise concerns

Residents and environmentalists in the region have raised concerns over the effects of such a blaze on people in the area. “The industries are so thickly packed together that there isn’t a proper wide road to each factory to enable firefighters to reach the spot when such mishaps occur. That is the same reason why the fire spread to the rubber processing factory from Orion Chemicals,” Mahesh Kumar, an environmental activist from Eloor tells TNM.

There are many other companies around which store highly inflammable materials and if the fire had spread, it would have been a huge disaster, adds Mahesh.

In 2016, a fire broke out at the Hindustan Insecticides Limited factory located at Eloor, very close to Sunday’s fire. In that fire, one person was killed and eight people were injured.

“Over the past 20 years, we have been demanding that the state government make a comprehensive chemical disaster management plan to tackle such accidents. Major fires can engulf Ernakulam district anytime. Thousands can die of poisonous smoke, but whom to tell all this to...who will listen?” environmental activist Purushan Eloor wrote on Facebook.

Read:

How a pristine Kerala island transformed into world’s top toxic spot

The Periyar is dying: How south Kerala's lifeline has become an industrial sewage drain

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