India incense factory dust fire asphyxiates 20
09 October 2017
Twenty-eight workers were hospitalised after fire broke out at a factory producing incense sticks at Chandigarh in northern India. According to the Hindustan Times, sparks from electrical work being carried out on the premises led to a minor blast in two chemical containers, which in turn ignited sandalwood powder.
The fire spread rapidly but the workers were unable to escape because of a lack of emergency exits at the factory, and at least 20 were rendered unconscious due to lack of oxygen. Rescuers had to make a hole in the rear wall to reach the trapped workers.
Seven fire tenders attended the incident, as well as police and a civil defence disaster team. A JCB machine was used to break the front wall, following which firemen removed sacks of sandalwood dust and other chemicals to prevent the fire spreading further.
Local authorities and the chief fire officer of the Chandigarh municipal corporation have ordered an investigation into the incident.