BHUBANESWAR: A major fire broke out at a biscuit manufacturing unit at Patia industrial estate here on Sunday night. While no casualties have been reported, packaging materials, wheat flour, ghee and ready-to-eat biscuits worth more than ` one crore were reduced to ashes.
The fire started at around 3.30 am in the factory of Lingaraj Biscuits Pvt Ltd near Infosys Square. At least 12 fire fighting units comprising over 100 fire-fighters rushed to the spot to bring the fire under control. The fire was extensive and simmered till late evening on Monday.
The godown was stocked with biscuits made of ghee and are moderately combustible materials. These items burn slowly and emit a lot of smoke which engulfed the surroundings. Presence of a huge quantity of plastics intensified the fire, senior Fire Services Officer Ramesh Majhi said.
The firefighters braved dense smoke and an extremely suffocating surrounding to safely bring out two gas cylinders which were lying inside the factory. A cylinder burst could have aggravated the situation, said sources.
Biscuits have been stocked on the ground as well as first floor of the building, spread over 250 metres. “The stock was huge and was engulfed in flames making it difficult for us to enter the building. Besides, the water and extinguishers were unable to reach the extreme corners where the biscuits were simmering,” added Majhi.
Sources said, the factory, which produced two tonnes of biscuits in a day, had a stock for over 15 days. The stock remained uncleared since July 1, post GST implementation. On the other hand, the factory was operating without a valid Fire Certificate issued by Fire Services Directorate, Chief Fire Officer BB Das said.
“While the Factories and Boilers Department had issued a notice to the biscuit manufacturing unit to obtain a Fire Certificate, the Fire Services did not receive any application for it,” Das added.
Deputy Director of the Factories and Boilers Directorate Malaya Pradhan said an investigation will be started to probe the cause of the massive fire and norm violations at the unit. “Operations at the biscuit factory will be shut till the probe is completed,” said Pradhan.Till reports last came in, the flames were doused but a thin layer of smoke had engulfed the factory and warehouse of the unit.
While the reason behind the massive fire is yet to be ascertained, sources suspect electric short-circuit.