Fire fighting ops at Ludhiana woollen mill in Punjab, India, last for 12 hours
A major fire broke out at the two-storey RT Woollen Mills in Industrial Area A on RK Road, near Cheema Chowk in Ludhiana sitiuated in Punjab, India, at around 12h20 on Sunday afternoon, 24 May 2020. Fire engines from all five fire stations on Humbran Road, Gill Road, Focal Point and Sunder Nagar responded. The fire team was led by fire station officer Srishti Nath Sharma. Sharma said the fire call was received at 12h25. The fire engines reached the incident within 10 minutes and started fire fighting operations. 14 fire tenders were deployed at the incident with over 60 fire fighters working to suppress the fire. Sub-fire officer (SFO) Maninder Singh said, “It was difficult even to enter the building due to the heat that was being emitted out of the building. I led a team of fire fighters to the roof of a building situated on the backside of the unit on fire and made a hole in the boundary wall so the intensity of heat could reduce inside the factory. Most of the material comprised cotton, polyester and petroleum products due to which it took more time to douse the flames.” One of the fire fighters, requesting anonymity, said the fire fighters also faced trouble in absence of safety suits. “If the department had given suits to the fire fighters, we might have entered the building and doused the flames faster. We could not enter the building due to the heat,” he said. The fire official also said, “We do not have proper equipment and in absence of this, we cover ourselves with wet clothes. The civic body and the state government have been making tall claims in the past but nothing has been done to improve the condition of the fire brigade.” Assistant divisional fire officer Bhupinder Singh said the 14 fire tenders deployed were refilled for over 100 times.
The fire engines fetched water from the Cancer Hospital Chowk. It took more than 12 hours for fire fighters to douse the flames. The walls developed cracks and the fire officials feared that the factory might collapse. The walls of migrant quarters also developed cracks. The migrants came out of their rooms for a precautionary measure. The fire official said there were no fire arrangements at the factory. Although a few fire extinguishers were lying in the factory, those were not enough to douse the flames.
Initial findings show that a short-circuit was said to be the cause of fire in which goods and machinery worth lakhs were destroyed.
According to factory owner Deepak, a huge stock of finished goods was reduced to ashes. The loss could be in lakhs. The factory was closed, which prevented the loss of human lives. Deepak said since the factory was closed, he was informed about the fire by the owner of a neighbouring factory.
Chief minister tells DC to order inquiry
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Tweeted about the incident: “I have directed the Ludhiana deputy commissioner (DC) Pradeep Agrawal to look into the reasons behind the fire that broke out at RT Woollen Mills today. Luckily, there have been no casualties. The fire department took prompt action and prevented the fire from spreading and causing more damage.”
Deputy commissioner (DC) Pradeep Agrawal has marked an inquiry in the matter to sub-divisional magistrate (SDM, west) Amrinder Malhi. SDM Malhi said he visited the spot on Monday and initiated the inquiry. “We have asked the owner to submit documents regarding the factory following which we will move forward with the inquiry. We could not enter the building as the smoke was still emanating out of the waste and reason behind the fire incident is uncertain.”
Source: Hindustan Times, The Tribune India