All 9 trapped in Telanagana’s Srisailam fire station killed

South India
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All nine were trapped inside a hydroelectric plant in Telangana’s Srisailam after a fire broke out late Thursday night. 15 employees managed to escape while six were rescued. 

All nine people trapped inside a hydroelectric plant at the Srisailam Left Bank Power Station (SLBP) run by Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TSGenco following a fire late Thursday night were killed, the Hindustan Times quoted officials as saying.

Of nine bodies recovered, three were identified as that of assistant engineers -- Sundar Naik, Mohan Kumar and Fathima. Officials said rescuers are still looking for the three other employees trapped inside the plant.

There were 30 employees of TSGenco inside the powerhouse when the accident took place. While six employees were rescued and brought out of the tunnel, 15 others managed to come out through the emergency exit route of the project.

The rescued employees, including deputy executive engineer Pawan Kumar, plant junior assistant Ramakrishna, junior engineers Mathru, Krishna Reddy and Venkataiah and driver Palankaiah were shifted to TSGenco Hospital at Eegala Penta closer to the power house. They are out of danger.

News18 quoted sources as saying that rescue personnel tried to enter the power station units at least thrice in the morning but were unable to enter due to the thick smoke. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force had also joined the rescue operation.

Nagarkurnool district fire officer Sri Das said several teams were pressed into service from Kothakotta, Mahababubnagar, Amarabad, Achampeta and Atmakur in Kurnool district. “People are trapped at different floors. We could not find them on the surface floor.” he said.

A short-circuit is suspected to have caused the fire, which was followed by an explosion in unit 4 of the six-unit power station. The smoke from the massive blaze had engulfed all six units of the power station from zero level to the service bay, hampering rescue operations, a News18 report said.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has ordered a comprehensive enquiry by the CID into the cause of the accident. Govind Singh, CID’s additional director of police, has been appointed as the inquiry officer. Singh has been asked to submit a report at the earliest.

State power minister G Jagadeeshwar Reddy, who rushed to the spot along with top TSGenco officials, monitored the rescue operations.

SLBP is on the Telangana side of the Srisailam reservoir on the Krishna River, a joint irrigation project under Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The power house was constructed in the huge tunnel under the Nallamala forests adjacent to the reservoir, which is presently brimming with heavy inflows into the river forcing the authorities to lift all the gates to discharge water, the HT report said.

Sources said rescue personnel tried to enter the power station units at least thrice in the morning but were unable to enter due to the thick smoke. Teams from the National Disaster Response Force had also joined the rescue operation.

Image Credit: Onmanorama

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