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Nine dead in Srisailam Hydel unit fire mishap

Hyderabad: In an unprecedented fire mishap at the Srisailam Left Bank Power Station (SLBP) in Domalapenta, of Amrabad Mandal in Nagarkurnool district late on Thursday night, nine personnel of TSGENCO and a private company of Hyderabad lost their lives.

The Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao ordered a CID probe into the causes that led to the mishap. There were around 19 persons at different levels inside the hydel unit when fire erupted at a panel board at around 10.30 pm due to which smoke engulfed entire underground power generation station.read

According to preliminary reports the fire could have been a result of a short circuit in the panel board of the 4-6 power generating units. Even as the maintenance staff tried to douse the fire with the help of fire extinguishers the fire could not be controlled.

While ten people escaped safely by running outside from the tunnel, others were trapped inside as dark and thick plumes of smoke engulfed the entire area and there were no lights as power has been tripped as a precautionary measure. Firefighting units and rescue teams which reached the spot found it difficult to enter the underground station in darkness and heavy fumes to rescue the trapped persons.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy, Transco and Genco CMD D Prabhakar Rao, MLA Guvvala Balraj, District Collector L Sharman and Superintendent of Police Sai Shekhar reached the spot and supervised the rescue operation. Rescue teams from CISF and NDRF started looking out for those who were trapped inside the power generating station. It was after painstaking search on Friday that the bodies of all the nine members were found.

Deputy Engineer Srinivas Goud (Hyderabad), Assistant Engineers Venkatrao (Palvancha), Mohan Kumar (Hyderabad), Uzma Fatima (Hyderabad), Sunder (Suryapet), Junior Plant Attendant Kiran and Plant Attendant Rambabu (Khammam)and two staff members Vinesh Kumar and Mahesh Kumar of a Hyderabad based battery company have lost their lives. All those persons who have suffered smoke inhalation were admitted at the Genco hospital and they are recovering.

“We have completed our work around 10 PM and were planning to leave after few routine checks. The fire was spotted in a panel board connected with units 4,5 and 6. After we were alerted all rushed to the spot and tried to douse the fire. For 20 minutes we struggled to control the fire with help of fire extinguishers. But it soon spread everywhere,” an eye witnesses who was admitted to the Genco hospital told Telangana Today.

Those recovering in the hospital said that God only saved them from sure death. ”It is an unfortunate incident. The fire started in the first unit of the hydel power generation station. Four panels are damaged due to the fire. Ten people have come out of the tunnel, nine were trapped,”Jagadish Reddy said. He said that rescue operations are affected by the thick smoke billowing from the accident spot but the fire and police personnel have entered the tunnel and were trying hard to save all of them.

“They have tried to enter inside at least three time but failed. The smoke is so thick that rescue workers could not proceed further despite wearing oxygen masks,” the Minister said. The government also summoned two Singareni rescue teams that included two officers and 20 rescue members who have experience in rescuing trapped people from mines. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao expressed shock over the fire accident and enquired about the rescue operation at the accident spot.

Chief Minister announces ex gratia

The Chief Minister has announced financial assistance to the kin of those who perished in the fire accident. In a statement here he has said that the government will provide an ex gratia of Rs 50 lakh to kin of Deputy Engineer Srinivas Goud and Rs 25 lakh for all the others who have lost their lives.

“The Government will provide one job from each household and all other department wise assistance will also be provided,” the Chief Minister said.

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