Navi Mumbai Around 15 hours after a fire broke out in Khairane MIDC, the first casualty was reported at around 7 am, after the fire officers managed to partially douse and cool the flames and reached the terrace of the West Coast Polychem Pvt Ltd.
By around 12 pm, the second body was discovered in the bathroom on the second floor. While the major blaze is under control, some of the portions are still under small fires, which are being doused, even after 24 hours of the incident.
“In the areas wherein the fire is doused, we are conducting a cooling procedure. The first body was identified as that of Sukumaran Nair (65) and the second one of Nikhil Sanjay Pashilkar (25),” NMMC fire officer Purushottam Jadhav, said.
While Nair, a resident of Kalyan was the manager of the Polychem company, Pashilkar was a lab technician.
“The biggest problem in MIDC area is of lack of safety. Even the marginal spaces available between the two companies is used for dumping drums and it becomes a challenge for us to work and douse the fire,” said fire officer RB Patil from MIDC, said.
The fire that started from West Coast Polychem Pvt Ltd, spread to Hind Elastomers Pvt Ltd and two small PAP plots behind the companies. “Prima facie, the source of the fire seems to be from the ground floor of the West Coast Polychem Pvt Ltd,” Patil said.
The former manager of West Coast Polychem Pvt Ltd and a very close friend of deceased Nair has alleged that it was due to the negligence and dangerous practices of the company that such an incident happened. “The chemical that is manufactured here is called Polycure PQD which is used in weapons. It is extremely dangerous and is marked in red in accordance with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board. None of the staff is provided with helmets and is given low quality gloves and boots. Apart from a 1.5 kg and 2.5kg cylinder, there is nothing else to fight the fire. In such chemical companies, the fire can be doused only with foam,” GS Nair, who was one of the five employees who had to leave the company due to age restrictions during covid, said.
The deceased Nair had also left the company during the Covid period. Two months back, the company requested him to join again and in February this year, he joined after working in the company for 17 years previously.
“My friend was making frantic calls to everyone after he was stuck in the terrace. He could be saved if there was timely help. The fire brigade reached very late and by then, the fire was all over. There are drums of 20kg and 200 kg kept outside the company which has solvents making the fire even worse,” Nair added.
Meanwhile, even after several attempts to contact the company’s owner, his phone was switched off.
Senior police inspector Rajendra Avhad from Turbhe MIDC police station said, “We have registered an accidental death report and once we receive reports from all government agencies, we would take the decision of registering an FIR.”