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At least 43 workers were injured after a fire broke out following a boiler blast in the refinery of Bharat Petroleum in Mumbai this afternoon, officials said.

The incident took place at the public sector oil firm’s plant on the Mahul Road in Chembur area of East Mumbai around 2.45 PM, they said.

Forty-three workers were injured in the incident, said Shahaji Umap, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-VI).

After preliminary treatment at BPCL’s first aid centre, 22 of them were allowed to go home, whereas 21 were shifted to nearby hospital in Chembur, he said.

One of them was in the intensive care unit, he said.

Nine fire tenders, two foam tenders and two jumbo tankers were pressed into service to douse the blaze.

Along with the Fire Brigade, the refinery’s own fire-fighting team, HPCL, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, RCF and Mazgaon Dock fire brigades were also engaged in dousing the flames which were now under control, said an official of the Disaster Control Room of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

The incident took place in the “Compressor shed of Hydrocracker plant”, as per the company’s statement.

Fire Brigade chief P S Rahangdale said the fire fighting was made difficult by heat and pressure inside the plant.

According to Santosh Aadhar, a local resident, a “massive” explosion was heard in the surrounding area.

“Its tremors shook windows of our building which is 500 m away from the refinery,” Aadhar told reporters. 

Talking about the impact of the blast on the workers, Dr Salil Bendre, Chest Physician, Nanavati Hospital told DNA, “The Chembur blast which involved release of gas mixture would affect the health of the people exposed. This gas would have hydrocarbons , hydrogen sulfide, SPM , carbon particulates. These gases lead to severe bouts of cough, bronchospasm ( narrowing of airways ) , asthma attacks And Lung infections.’

‘The decrease in the oxygen flow would lead to breathing difficulty too. Moving away from the site, wearing masks may reduce the severity of the outcome,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Tata Power Company issued a clarification regarding the initial confusion over the exact site of the blast. ‘We wish to clarify that the occurrence of this unfortunate event has taken place at BPCL refinery and not at Tata Power. Request you not to associate Tata Power with this news,’ the statement read.   

(With inputs from PTI)

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