Three killed in paint factory blast in Chennai, one feared stuck under debris

According to the police, four people were working inside the factory when the fire broke out.
A barrel with chemicals exploded and fell on the road and Srinivasan was caught underneath
A barrel with chemicals exploded and fell on the road and Srinivasan was caught underneath(Photo | Express)

CHENNAI: Three people were killed in an explosion at a paint factory in Kakkalur Industrial Estate near Tiruvallur around 5pm on Friday. Two among the deceased are workers of the factory who are yet to be identified.

The third person was a pedestrian, identified as Srinivasan (35), a worker of a nearby private factory. He was killed when a barrel that exploded fell on him. While another worker is suspected to be trapped under the debris, a female worker escaped with minor injuries.

“A barrel with chemicals placed on the terrace of the factory of Zen Paints caught fire and exploded. It fell on the road and Srinivasan was caught underneath it. Srinivasan was rushed to a government hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” a police source said.

According to the police, four people were working inside the factory when the fire broke out. One worker, identified as Shobana, escaped with injuries. She is under treatment at a government hospital. Of the remaining three, bodies of two were found charred inside the factory and they are yet to be identified. The police are trying to trace the fourth worker.

A Fire and Rescue official said that the reason for the accident is suspected to be an electrical short circuit. Due to the hot weather, the fire quickly spread and it became difficult to control.

He added, “The factory had a lot of chemicals and paint thinners stored. The walls and roofs collapsed in the explosion, making it difficult for us to search. The fire was put out in a few hours.”

Rescue operations have been put on hold as it got very dark and officers said it will continue on Saturday morning.

Preliminary inquiries revealed that property and goods worth `3 crore have been destroyed in the fire. Efforts are under way to identify the deceased persons.

Tiruvallur collector T Prabhu Shankar told reporters that legal action will be initiated against the factory owner. He also said that the district administration will help the families of the deceased to avail compensation.

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