HYDERABAD: Nine officials have died after a major fire broke out in the underground hydroelectric power station located in the Telangana side of the Srisailam dam over Krishna river in the Nagarkurnool district late on Thursday night. The fire started in the auxiliary voltage transformer of the fourth unit of the power station.
The Telangana govt has ordered a CID probe into the fire accident. CID Additional DGP Govind Singh will be the enquiry officer.
According to preliminary reports, the fire was due to a short-circuit. Rescue teams from Singareni Collieries Company Limited were pressed into service to rescue the employees.
The deceased were identified as deputy engineer (DE) Srinivas Goud, assistant engineers (AEs) Venkat Rao, Mohan Kumar, Fatima and Sundar, plant attendant Rambabu and junior attendant Kiran and employees of Amara Raja Batteries Limited (ARBL) Vinesh Kumar and Mahesh Kumar.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced financial and other benefits to the families of those who died in the fire accident. The Chief Minister announced Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to DE Srinivas Goud’s family and Rs 25 lakh each to the families of the others who died.
Rao also announced one job each to the families of the deceased. They would also be extended other departmental benefits, according to a release from the Chief Minister's Office here on Friday.
Three more employees injured in the accident were in hospital and recovering.
A TS GENCO employee, who was at the hydroelectric power plant when the fire started said, "It seemed to have started in one of the panels, somewhere near the units 4, 5 and 6. At least ten people were working around that time. We immediately tried to control the fire using carbon dioxide fire extinguishing cylinders."
He further added that they tried to quell the flames for at least 20 minutes. "Thick smoke had engulfed the entire area. The visibility was so poor because of smoke that we could not see the person standing next to us. We had no idea as to what was happening and later a few of us somehow managed to escape. Only God knows how we managed to escape. I am still worried, some of my friends are still trapped there in fire."
Seven #Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Ltd employees and two employees of a private battery firm are trapped in fire after a major fire broke out in the Srisailam hydroelectric power station in Nagarkurnool.— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) August 21, 2020
READ: https://t.co/MPkqRDR8lx @XpressHyderabad pic.twitter.com/PDVIuIzASX
As per preliminary reports, each turbine in the hydroelectric power station has the capacity to generate 150 MW power, but on Thursday there was a sudden spike in power generation, up to 180 MW, which resulted to a short circuit causing the fire.
While the police, disaster management and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials, with the necessary safety gear and oxygen kits, are trying their best to rescue the persons trapped in the fire, the task is proving very tough due to thick smoke billowing at the accident site and the flames are still raring.
Telangana power minister G Jagadish Reddy reached the spot soon after the accident and is at the site, monitoring the situation, along with various senior revenue and police officials of the district.