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2 OIL firemen found dead near blazing well in Assam

Dibrugarh/Guwahati/New Delhi: Two firefighters of public sector major OIL were found dead in a wetland abutting the site of a major blaze at its Baghjan well, which has been "uncontrollably" spewing gas for the last 15 days in Assam's Tinsukia district, officials said on Wednesday.

Tension has gripped the area after the fire, which erupted on Tuesday, damaged a stretch of the adjoining forest, houses and vehicles, provoking an attack by the locals on OIL employees.

The two firefighters had gone missing after the well caught fire and their bodies were recovered by an NDRF team Wednesday morning, Oil India Limited (OIL) spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said.

"Their bodies were recovered from a wetland near the site. Prima facie it looks like that they jumped into the water and got drowned as there is no mark of burn injury. The exact cause will be ascertained only after a post mortem," he said.

The duo has been identified as Durlov Gogoi and Tikheswar Gohain, both assistant operators of the fire service department of the company, the official said.

Meanwhile, two OIL staffers have been suspended for alleged negligence of duty in the gas well blowout, a company official said on Wednesday.

"The company is carrying out an internal inquiry and we have placed two officials responsible for the well under suspension. Once the probe is over, we will take a final decision on their role," the official maintained.

Earlier, OIL Chairman and MD Sushil Chandra Mishra said a five-member inquiry committee was formed and actions would be initiated on employees of the company if there was any prima facie evidence of a human error.

A firefighter of the state-owned ONGC suffered minor injuries during the efforts to control the blaze, which the OIL said could take as long as four weeks to put out.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal of all possible assistance to the victims and to resolve the situation.

"Gave details of Baghjan fire tragedy to PM Shri @narendramodi ji over phone. Also briefed him about emergency measures taken by @PetroleumMin, @OilIndiaLimited & state machinery. He assured of all possible help to resolve the situation & provide relief to victims," Sonowal tweeted.

With agency inputs

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