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Jaipur fire rages on, Deora forms probe panel

CNN-IBN
Oct 31, 2009 at 03:26pm IST

Jaipur: It has been almost two days and the fire at Jaipur's Indian Oil depot is still blazing and officials say it could be a while before it is doused.

The fire has claimed at least 11 lives and injured over 150 so far. It broke out after about 50,000 kilo-litres of fuel, mostly diesel, caught fire due to a pipeline leak at one of the tanks.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora visited the site on Friday. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of those killed, Rs 2 lakhs to the seriously injured and Rs 1 lakh to those with minor injuries. A probe has also been ordered into the incident.

The skyline of the Pink city Jaipur has been a smoky and smoldering yellow for more than a day since the fire broke out late on Thursday evening.

Most of the injured have been due to wall collapses, splinters from shattered glass panes and burns.

One of the injured, Mukil Ansari said, "We were working on the third floor when we heard a loud explosion and then something hit me on the head. We all ran downstairs and I felt pain in my head. When I put my hand on the head it was full of blood, there was a huge wound and blood was pouring out of my head."

The fire can't be put out until the entire fuel burns itself even though 35 firefighting teams, including special chemical fire tenders have been pressed into action. But the cause of the fire is still unknown.

State Home Secretary, Atul Sen said, "I understand there was an internal flare but its a matter of investigation now."

"One of the oil tanks caught fire and then it spread rapidly. There were huge flames as high as 70 feet and an area of nearly 2-3 kilometres was engulfed in fire and flames." said an eyewitness who also pitched in to help rescue work.

The images are a chilling reminder of India's worst industrial disaster yet, the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, that left nearly 3000 dead and more than 15000 affected in one way or the other.

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