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Chemical Plant Explosion and Fire Leaves 2 Dead, 26 Hurt

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The company said an electrical short circuit may have caused the fire and explosion in the manufacturing facility.

Two people died and 26 were injured in a blast and fire Tuesday at the UPL Ltd. agricultural chemicals plant Jhagadia, India, according to reports by local news organizations. Five workers are reportedly still missing.

The explosion and fire occurred in the plant at about 1:30 a.m., according to news broadcaster NDTV. UPL’s plant has been closed since February 5 for an annual boiler inspection.

“Since the plant was shut, there was no chemical reaction in progress. There were no chemical or gas leaks because of the fire/explosion either during or after this incident,” the company said in a statement to The Hindu Business Line. Given the intensity, prima facie, it appears that the fire may have been caused due to fire/explosion in the solvent which could have been caused due to electric short circuit. We do not rule out possible foul play, as there was no operation at the plant.”

After the incident, UPL received a notice from Gujarat government officials to close the facility. A Director Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) official told The Financial Express that the plant’s chemical units are being shut down slowly to avoid an accident.

The company has established a team to investigate the cause of the fire and explosion.   

UPL manufactures crop protection products, including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and seed treatments. The agrochemical firm is based in Mumbai.

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