Andhra Pradesh: GAIL Pipeline Fire Killed 15
The blast took place at 5:30 am in a pipeline owned by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) in East Godavari district.
Reports suggest the number of dead could rise. “We have recovered 13 bodies so far,” said Andhra Pradesh’s Home Minister N. Chinna Rajappa.
10 people have been severely burnt and are being treated at a local hospital.The victims were local residents.
The fire caused by the blast had been brought under control by around 7:30 am, said officials.
The 18-inch diameter pipeline supplies gas to a power plant operated by Lanco Infratech Ltd.There is speculation that the pipe was old and rusted, which caused a gas leak.
State Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said, “People are angry that GAIL authorities didn’t pay heed when they complained the pipes being rusted and gas leaks.”
ONGC, the government-controlled oil company, has shut down its gasfield, just 50 kms away, after the fire at the pipeline.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the union Oil Minister and GAIL chairman to ensure immediate relief at the scene, according a statement issued by his office.
The state government has ordered an inquiry and will set an action plan to avoid similar accidents in future, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said in a tweet.
The huge flames leaping out of the pipeline gutted scores of houses and shops near the blast site. Villagers ran out of their houses in panic as the fire accompanied by loud blasts engulfed a large area.
Villagers woke up to deafening noise and huge flames after the pipeline belonging to Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) suddenly caught fire near an ONGC connecting station. Villagers allege negligence on the part of officials as the pipeline developed rust and authorities failed to replace it.
A pall of gloom descended on Mamidikuduru mandal with people running in panic and wailing for help as huge flames engulfed an entire village trapping about 30 people, and burning hundreds of tall coconut trees and reducing about 50 houses and shops to ashes. Many birds and domestic animals were feared burnt in the mishap as flames rose to as high as 250 metres, villagers told media.
The state government rushed in senior officials to the accident spot to take up immediate relief and rescue operations. Fire fighting personnel from half a dozen fire stations fought to tame the flames. Villagers recall the gas pipeline blowout in the district about two decades ago where flames continued to rage for several days.At least 14 persons are feared dead when a fire broke out in the gas trunk line of GAIL at about 4 a.m. on Friday at Nagaram village in Mamidikuduru mandal of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. The 18-inch pipeline with 70-80 kg psi is 200 feet away from the ONGC gas collecting station Tatipaka. According to initial information the fire could have been triggered by a household stove in the early hours when it came in contact with the leaked gas cloud which was already spread and settled in the area.
The accident is said to have caused a huge loss to property as several of coconut farms, shops and residential buildings were charred in the flames.
The Tatipaka ONGC fire crew immediately informed the GAIL Authorities to close the line. Meanwhile ONGC crew rushed its two fire tenders stationed in Tatipaka GCS and pressed two more fire tenders from Narsapur. Besides the Razole-based government fire tenders joined ONGC and put off the fire. The government has ordered a probe into the accident.