Statements of ONGC’s  Uran fire survivors noted

Mumbai: Uran police recorded the statement of the three survivors in the devastating fire at ONGC’s gas processing plant where four persons, including three Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, were charred to death on September 3.

Following the incident, the Uran police had registered an accidental death report (ADR) while parallel probes had been launched by the ONGC in-house set up and the local fire brigade to establish the cause of fire. The police however, continue probe if any laxity in the maintenance and supervision of equipments had culminated in the fatal disaster and fix the responsibility for the same. Keeping in mind the gravity of the incident, a senior-inspector level officer has been asked to conduct the investigation.

A top source in the Navi Mumbai police told FPJ that on Saturday the process of recording the statement of the three survivors in the fire got over. The three survivors, who are CISF jawans, were deployed in the vicinity of LPG Plant No 1 where fire broke out early on September three. The threesome had rushed to assist fellow CISF jawans and the resident product superintendent, C N Rao in the fire fighting operation. While Rao and three other CISF Jawans were badly injured and succumbed later, these three survived with severe to minor burns. The police on Saturday recorded their statements following their discharge from hospital. Sources claimed that the investigation got delayed on account of heavy torrential downpour earlier this week. The rains hampered on-spot inspection by the police team as well as recording of statement of those connected to the fire, 'directly or indirectly.' “Apart from recording the statement of the survivors, people responsible for the maintenance and of equipments and responders (in the event of a fire) are also being questioned in order to find out the cause of lapses, if any,” sources said adding that the investigation is likely to be completed in four-five days time. Rao, who was the main responsible person for the maintenance and supervision of equipments had died in the fire, sources added.

On September three, fire broke out in LPG Plant No 1, ostensibly due to leakage of highly inflammable naphtha from one of the pipes. The preliminary report prepared by the Uran police suggested that the leakage had occurred at around 7 am due to the loosening of a valve in the pipeline. The liquidized gas quickly spread on the surface of a nullah below. Though the source of ignition is not known, it is assumed it could have been caused by a spark from an electrical circuit. The CISF jawans and ONGC staffers who went to shut the valve were caught in the fire which spread quickly following a blast.

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