KANPUR: Four persons were killed and 15 others injured as ammonia gas leak caused a powerful blast in a cold storage unit, resulting in its collapse in Shivrajpur area, 40 km from Kanpur, on Wednesday. At least 25 people were trapped inside the building at the time of the incident.
The gas leak in the afternoon triggered an explosion at the Katiyar Cold Storage, the roof of which collapsed trapping over two dozen people.
Rescue and relief operations were underway and the district administration had rescued 16 people, including farmers and cold storage staff, from under the debris. All the rescued persons were referred to Hallet hospital in Kanpur.
Chief medical officer Dr Ramayan Prasad said four seriously injured labourers, who were rescued between 4 pm and 6 pm, were declared brought dead by doctors of the medical college-cum-hospital here.
According to District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, more than a dozen ambulances were deployed to ferry the injured to the hospital.
A contingent of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) along with local police personnel was carrying out the rescue operation on the site.
Earthmovers and cutters were also deployed to rescue the people from under the rubble. “The fire department has also joined the rescue and relief operations,” SP (Rural) Rajesh Kumar said.
The Army’s help has also been sought. The hospital staff has been put on alert as the number of those injured is expected to increase.
The cold storage facility is used to stack potato. According to sources, the owner of the cold storage unit and his son were also trapped in the debris.
Kanpur District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said around two dozen labourers were having their lunch when the incident happened. More labourers could be still trapped under the debris, district administration officials said. The DM said rescue workers have been given protective gear, including masks. The district administration will also check if the cold storage had a licence.