Several dead in India factory blast

Twenty-four fire engines and some 50 firefighters extinguish blaze in Gujarat state after several hours.

Witnesses say the huge explosion ripped apart the walls of the building [AFP]

At least 12 workers were killed when part of a chemical warehouse collapsed following a powerful blast in western India, according to officials.

Twelve bodies have been recovered from the warehouse of a cotton factory on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, a key city in Gujarat state, National Disaster Response Force spokesman Krishan Kumar said on Wednesday.

A fire official told the AFP news agency that the dead included five women, and that nine other people were injured in the incident at an industrial complex.

Witness told reporters that the explosion ripped apart the walls of the building, including a textile facility that operated from the complex.

Television images showed several workers fleeing the premises. The New Delhi television news channel said that some nearby buildings also were damaged by the blast.

Ahmedabad chief fire officer MF Dastoor said a preliminary investigation suggested the explosion was triggered by a fire in a chemical store, and the blast left the building in a pile of rubble.

Twenty-four fire engines and more than 50 firefighters extinguished the blaze after several hours, the fire control room said.

India is frequently rocked by industrial disasters that experts blame on poor planning and lax enforcement of safety rules.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said authorities were providing all possible assistance to those affected.

“Anguished by the loss of lives due to a fire in a godown (warehouse) in Ahmedabad. Condolences to the bereaved families,” he tweeted.

Source: News Agencies