All nine employees at an underground hydroelectric plant in Telangana who were trapped inside the facility in a fire late on Thursday have died, ANI reported. The massive fire broke out at a unit of the Srisailam Left Bank Power Station, which is situated near the Andhra Pradesh-Telangana border.
The employees who were killed in the accident were Deputy Engineer Srinivas Goud, assistant engineers Venkatak Rao, Mohan Kumar, Uzma Fathima and Sundar, plant attendant Rambabu, junior plant attendant Kiran and two more staff members named Vinesh Kumar and Mahesh Kumar, India Today reported.
Thirty employees were inside the power plant when the fire broke out, according to Hindustan Times. Six employees were brought out of the plant by rescuers while 15 others managed to escape through the emergency exit. The six employees rescued from the burning building are being treated at hospitals.
The fire broke out around 10.30 pm on Thursday at one of the power houses inside the plant. Fire engines from the Atmakur Fire Station in Kurnool went sent immediately.
A team of the National Disaster Response Force began evacuating those trapped inside the plant. The Central Industrial Security Force has also joined the rescue operation, according to PTI.
The cause of the blaze is yet to be ascertained. Initial reports suggest that a short circuit may have led to it. Rescuers faced difficulties in evacuating the employees as thick smoke engulfed all six units of the power station, reported News18.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has ordered a Crime Investigation Department inquiry into the fire. He also directed the officials to ensure that the employees injured in the fire receive adequate medical treatment.
Modi says incident ‘deeply unfortunate’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed grief about the deaths in the fire at the hydropower plant and offered his condolences to the victims’ families.
“Fire at the Srisailam hydroelectric plant is deeply unfortunate,” he wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover at the earliest.”
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also expressed shock. Reddy directed the officials of his state to extend all help to Telangana, his office said. He also cancelled his visit to Srisailam, which was scheduled for Friday.
President Ram Nath Kovind said he was pained by the loss of lives in the fire. “In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he tweeted. “I wish speedy recovery for the injured.”
Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed his grief. “Deeply anguished to learn about the loss of lives due to tragic fire accident at the Srisailam hydroelectric plant in Telangana,” he tweeted. “My deepest condolences are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest.”