At least five workers were killed and around 125 others injured when in a massive blast when a boiler at a private chemical company in the MIDC industrial complex here on Thursday morning, police said.The blast in Probace Enterprises around 11 a.m. caused a devastating fire at the factory, located in the Phase II of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) complex, on the outskirts of the Dombivali city, said an official of the Manpada police.The fire was quickly brought under control and as smoke dissipated, it revealed the entire factory building had collapsed. The huge blast and blaze also caused huge damage to two other adjacent plants - belonging to the Herbert Brown Pharma & Research and Acharya Group.So severe was the blast, which some eyewitnesses compared to a bomb explosion, that it was heard even four-five km away.
The shock wave shook buildings, shattered glass windows of several residential and industrial buildings, moving or parked vehicles, injured pedestrians, vehicle drivers and even cattle in the surrounding vicinity for almost two kms.It also disrupted mobile communication and television cable services in the area for a few hours.Many locals mistook it for an earthquake and dropped everything to flee their homes to open places for safety.Fifteen fire-tenders and water tankers from Dombivali, Thane, Kalyan and other surrounding towns, as well as National Disaster Response Force teams from Thane and Pune, and the National Security Guard team from Mumbai, rushed to the spot to tackle the emergency, said District Collector Mahendra Kalyankar.Kalyankar said arrangements were made for augmenting blood supplies for the injured victims who were admitted to nearby government or private hospitals and other relief measures.
Taking a serious view of the incident, Industry Minister Subhash Desai announced that all chemical industrial units in and around Dombivali would be shifted to alternate locations for which suitable legislative change would be effected.He also announced that all such chemical industries in the city shall be shut down for a week to carry out an inspection and combing operation to ascertain implementation of various safety and security measures.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed anguish over the tragedy and assured for relief and rehabilitation measures for the victims. He also visited the injured undergoing treatment at various hospitals in the evening.The district authorities have ordered a probe into the blast's cause and will carry out a safety review of all the 900-odd industrial units located in the sprawling MIDC area in Dombivali.