VISAKHAPATNAM: Thick white smoke billowed out of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) Visakha Refinery creating a minor scare among people in Malkapuram, Marripalem and other industrial belts in the city on Thursday.
As the incident occurred close on the heels of LG Polymers gas leak which left 12 dead and landed hundreds in hospitals, people in these areas ran for safety as the fumes started emanating from the unit around 3.10 pm.
They heaved a big sigh of relief after the smoke, which lasted for close to 5 to 10 minutes, subsided.
Meanwhile, there was tension in the colonies around the unit for about 30 minutes. According to sources, owing to a technical problem, there was fluctuation in temperature in the fluidised catalytic cracker (FCC) unit leading to the smoke.
However, the situation was brought under control following immediate intervention by the HPCL officials. They said the smoke was not poisonous and there will not be any hazardous gases in the HPCL unit. It was flue gas comprising air, steam and low quantities of carbondioxide, which was released from the stack column and there were no harmful components in the smoke, they explained. Addressing mediapersons here, former mayor Dadi Satyanarayana sought a thorough inquiry into the Thursday’s incident.