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Fire at chemical factory, 10 tenders pressed into action

Kolkata: A major fire broke out at a chemical factory situated at the Southern fringes of the city in Taratala on Wednesday. No casualty or injuries have been reported in the incident.
Police said that the chemical factory that had caught fire used to house a warehouse on the Transport Depot Road. Local people found smoke billowing out of the factory at around 10.30 am and informed the matter. Tension ran among the local residents following the incident.
More than ten fire tenders were pressed into action to douse the flame. The firemen initially had some problems to reach to the source of the fire as a thick smoke covered the entire area. The police reached the spot and cordoned off the entire area. Even ten fire tenders took more than four hours to bring the situation under control. According to the police and fire officials, it is suspected that a large amount of ammonium powder used in making firecrackers was stored in the factory. The fire officials restricted the fire so that it does not spread to adjacent buildings.
State Fire minister and Mayor Sovan Chatterjee rushed to the spot and supervised the firefighting operation. He said that as a huge cache of chemicals including ammonium powder was stored inside the factory-cum-warehouse. He inspected the operation and asked the fire officials and police to take action if the factory is found to have flouted norms. According to the preliminary investigation, the fire officials suspect that the blaze was probably caused after the chemical came in contact with water. The local residents heard loud explosions inside the factory. Even during the firefighting operation, the explosions took place inside the factory which further aggravated the situation.
According to the fire officials, the loud explosions might have been caused after ammonium powder came in contact with water. Ammonium powder could have been stored for making firecrackers. The fire officials ensured that none was trapped in the factory. Later in the course of inquiry, the firefighters found that as many as 18 tonne of ammonium dust and 6 tonne of other chemicals were stored inside the factory.
"It became difficult for the firefighters to douse the blaze as the fire spread very quickly. I have asked the police to look into it and file an FIR if anything illegal is found. Action will be taken against factory owners if any lapses are found," Chatterjee said after the primary inspection.
A fire official said that an investigation will be started to find out the cause of the fire. Legal action will be taken against the owner if anything unlawful is found. The probe would be done to ascertain if there was any proper fire license. The exact cause of the fire and the extent of the damage are yet to be ascertained.
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