Goa: A massive fire destroyed the warehouse of the Berger Becker Coatings Pvt. Ltd factory at the Pilerne Industrial estate on Tuesday evening. Ninety-four workers were in the factory at the time of the mishap, but all managed to escape without injuries.
The fire at the factory, which destroyed paints, chemicals and solvents, led to thick black smoke billowing into the sky which could be seen several kilometres away and concerns over the adverse health effects of chemical smoke have prompted authorities to advise people to wear a mask as a precautionary measure.
Fire broke out at around 2.30 pm
According to sources, raw material from one truck was being unloaded at the factory when fire broke out in the warehouse at about 2.30 pm and the truck was gutted in the fire. Fire tenders from the Pilerne fire station were the first to reach the site.
Blasts were also reported inside the factory which had a huge stock of paints, chemicals and other solvents.
As the flames quickly went out of control, 11 fire tenders from different parts of the State, including Porvorim, Panaji, Mapusa, Ponda, Bicholim, Curchorem and Margao were dispatched to tackle the inferno. Two fire tenders from the Navy were also pressed into service.
Industrial fire tenders, special vehicle ‘Turntable ladder’ and water bouser were also pressed into service.
Several officials rushed to spot quickly
Realising the gravity and urgency of the situation, North Goa Collector Mamu Hage, IDC Chairman Aleixo Reginald Lourenco, Saligao MLA Kedar Naik, Director of Fire and Emergency services Nitin Raiker, Pilerne Fire Station Officer Srikant Parrikar rushed to the site to take stock of the situation.
When contacted, Pilerne Fire Station Officer Srikant Parrikar stated the fire had still not been extinguished even after four-and-half hours.
“Firefighting operations are still going on and now, an underground furnace oil tank has caught fire. Firefighters now have a major task to tackle the fire,” said Parrikar.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an employee at the factory said the company manufactures industrial paint and supplies it to customers out of Goa.
“Around 100 workers were working in the factory when the fire broke out. The loss would be massive as the entire factory has been burnt and it will take quite some time for the company to rebuild the factory,” said the staffer.
IDC Chairman said that the fire was massive
IDC Chairman Aleixo Reginald Lourenco told reporters at the site that the fire was massive and fire tenders from all over Goa had been summoned to the site.
“No causalities have been reported. As there is private property by the side of the paint factory, the area has been cordoned off,” said Lourenco.
“All precautions have been taken to ensure the fire does not spread to adjacent buildings, factories and parts of neighbouring villages.”
Saligao MLA Kedar Naik said hectic efforts were underway to extinguish the fire. “Services of the defence forces will be sought, if required, to extinguish the fire. I have already spoken to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and briefed him in the matter,” said Naik.
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