Fire at HAL premises in Bengaluru, no injuries reported

Fire breaks out at HAL premises in Bengaluru, no casualties reported

Credit: DH Photo

An accidental fire broke out in the premises of HAL on Wednesday morning. The incident created panic among the residents staying surrounding HAL, however, there are no casualties reported. The fire and emergency officials are making efforts to douse the fire completely. 

MN Anucheth, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Whitefield) said, the accidental fire broke out in Forge and Foundry (F&F) division in the premises of HAL around 9.30 am. It is an incident of a chemical fire. A stockpile of magnesium caught fire at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Forge and Foundry Division on Old Airport Road on Wednesday morning, resulting in sounds of an explosion and a large blaze at the facility.

Eight fire tenders are currently at the spot trying to douse the fire. The entire area has been cordoned off and fire has been isolated. There are no casualties reported in the incident so far. It will take another two hours to completely put off the fire, Anucheth said. 

A few residents heard a huge sound like explosions from HAL premises. Many of them got panic as they didn't know what exactly was the explosion. On rushing out of their residences people found thick black smoke. One of the residents staying close to HAL said, "We heard huge blast coupe of times. We got panicked but on learning, it is a fire mishap we had a relief."

The residents have learnt that HAL employees speaking among themselves that the HAL has sufficient firefighters to douse the fire. However,  few residents saw fire tenders going to HAL. 

HAL police said, since it is a restricted area there were only a few people and soon after they saw the smoke, the place was secured, so people need not panic. The fire is coming to control and will be doused soon.

A HAL spokesperson clarified that the stockpile of magnesium which had been lying at the scrapyard of the Division ignited for unknown reasons. “There were no casualties reported,” he said.

Magnesium is easily ignited but for it to ignite, the whole surface area of the magnesium slab has to be heated to its ignition temperature.

When asked if the incident could be because of foul play, HAL added that the company was investigating.

Although HAL described the fire as being under control, the officer clarified that there were challenges to extinguishing the flames as magnesium cannot be doused by water.

When magnesium interacts with water, it forms a hydrogen gas that ignites violently due to the excessive heat and oxygen supply. The metal will burn hot enough to decrease the water molecule, which turns to hydrogen gas. 

The incident comes a day after all divisions of the company were reopened following a request from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the State government. The reopening has been described as being universally unpopular among HAL officers and workers.