HPCL BLAST TOLL 8

HPCL BLAST TOLL 8
Highlights

The death toll in Friday's blast at the HPCL cooling tower rose to 8 with 6 charred bodies being recovered after water in the cooling tower sump was drained out early on Saturday morning. Two of the victims died on Friday night. Many are reported to be battling for life with more than 80 per cent burn injuries. Nearly 102 workers were present at the site of the blast, it was learnt. The blast which ripped the tower sent chills down the spines of the employees. Nearly 4000 of them boycotted work protesting against the management in not providing proper safety measures.

  • Six bodies were found in the cooling tower sump
  • Still some workers are found missing
  • Most of the 40 injured have 80% burns
  • Explosion caused by gas leak in cooling tower
  • HPCL loses one of its bright stars Murali

The death toll in Friday's blast at the HPCL cooling tower rose to 8 with 6 charred bodies being recovered after water in the cooling tower sump was drained out early on Saturday morning. Two of the victims died on Friday night. Many are reported to be battling for life with more than 80 per cent burn injuries. Nearly 102 workers were present at the site of the blast, it was learnt. The blast which ripped the tower sent chills down the spines of the employees. Nearly 4000 of them boycotted work protesting against the management in not providing proper safety measures.

With some workers are still reported missing, authorities have opened a control room at the District Collectorate and also at the Visakh Refinery. The landline number at the HPCL control room is 0891- 2894008. Anxious relatives of the missing workers staged a protest at the main entrance of the refinery.

There was utter chaos and confusion at the mortuary and all the city hospitals with relatives and friends staging dharnas protesting against the "callousness attitude" of the authorities who "never even cared" to visit the hospital or homes of the deceased workmen. But that allegation was refuted by the HPCL authorities.

"We immediately deployed two senior staff to each hospital in the rank of senior managers to ensure efficient medical aid was given to the injured workmen", said an official from the HR department. "While commissioning the fifth cell of the cooling tower there was an explosion caused by a gas leak in the return line", Executive Director VVR Narasimham, Visakh Refinery, told a crowded press conference here on Saturday. "Being a wooden cooling tower, the structure was instantly gutted," he said.

The cooling tower is used for 'refinery process cooling' where you have circulating cooling water, which in turn is pumped to the plants and after picking up heat, the water returns back to the cooling tower. Cooling water is used to cool the condensers and other equipment after severe heat is produced when running the plants. The construction of this tower is outsourced and allotted to private contractor- Southern Cooling Towers.

"In India we have two or three agencies who do this work", said the ED. Narasimham said debris in all the five cells would be cleared by evening. Six charred bodies have been recovered after water in the cooling tower basin has been 'drained out', he said. The ED was all praise for the deceased Ch Murali. "He was sincere, hard working and HPCL's bright star. He was recently promoted and is very unfortunate that we lost a young officer", he said. Usually such cooling towers are manned by two or three officers. But the tower being under the commissioning stage has a lot of workmen in attendance-from the electrical, instrumentation, construction and other departments.

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