By A Newsman
Silchar, 27 September: THE commercial hub of Silchar town today narrowly escaped a major disaster after a fire raged through the Assam Oil petrol pump at Premtala in the town.
The fire that broke out around 08.45 am has completely gutted the office room and cash counter of the Shyamala Das Petrol Pump, a motorbike, and the frontal part of a fuel tanker that had arrived early in the morning to deliver 12,000 litres of petrol.
The server cables of a SBI ATM counter located on the petrol pump premises have also got burned in the fire, rendering it dysfunctional.
Two staff of the petrol pump ~ assistant manager Paritosh Das (54) of Karimganj and service boy Sitendra Das (19) of Bhanga ~ have suffered burns in the incident and are now admitted to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital.
The injury of the assistant manager is grievous in nature; he has suffered burns in his left arm and head. The service boy has suffered burns in his both arms.
According to Bidyasingh Bey, the station officer of Tarapur fire brigade, they received a call informing about the fire at 08.52 am and within five minutes three fire tenders reached the spot, including one loaded with foam to contain chemical fire.
But in the apprehension that the loaded fuel tanker might burst in flames and cause a major disaster in the dense commercial area, six more tenders pressed in including a multipurpose one from ONGC Srikona and a regular fire tender from the Army cantonment at Masimpur on the outskirts of the town.
The nine fire tenders doused the flames in about two hours bringing Premtala from the brink of a major disaster. This is even as the entire frontal part of the fuel tanker that was stationed at the petrol pump has been reduced into ashes.
Had the fuel tanker with 12,000 litre of petrol got burst, nothing would have been left of the shops and markets located in the vicinity. A family member of the petrol pump owner claimed that the fire started from a spark in the outlay pipe of the tanker while their staff was checking the density of the petrol before transfer to the underground tanks.
Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Rajib Roy, who was overseeing the fire fighting at the spot, said that he believed otherwise.
“Photographs of the initial stage of the fire that we have received suggest that the fire started from the office room of the petrol pump, probably due to an electrical short-circuit. We have asked the Indian Oil Corporation (of which Assam Oil is a part) to carry out a detailed probe and submit the report at the earliest,” Roy said.
The probe shall have to largely depend on circumstantial evidence and eyewitness account as the computer on which the CCTV camera footage was getting stored has got reduced into ashes.
ADC Roy said that in view of today fire, the district administration has ordered a safety audit of the 10 petrol pumps located within Silchar town limits.
“Based on the findings, preventive measures would be put in place so that such disaster does not recur. If required, the oil companies would be asked to relocate one or two petrol pumps from dense areas,” he said.