Cold storage unit collapses, poses threat of gas leak

Cold storage unit collapses, poses threat of gas leak

The threat of poisonous gas leak loomed large at the cold storage unit at a private godown in the industrial area here, which caught fire on Sunday.

Even as fire personnel attempted to tackle the flames, there were fears that the fire could soon spread to the part of the building where a tanker containing liquified ammonia was stored. The nearly 500 kgs of liquified ammonia is used to keep the unit cool.

As the building collapsed on Tuesday, it became difficult to shift the tanker to safety. In addition, the fire personnel had been unable to put off the flames even on Tuesday, aggravating their worse fear of the chemical catching the fire.

Crane brought

A water crane was brought from Hubli on Monday night to douse the fire as the flames began to spread rapidly, and as relentless efforts by the fire-fighting force went in vain.
“We have already taken precautionary measures to avert a major disaster if this portion of the building also collapses, damaging the tanker,” said M N Narasimhamurthy, an official with the Fire department, on the possible leak of the poisonous gas. 

Foodgrains stored by farmers at the Sai Balaji cold storage, including maize, wheat, chilli and groundnut, worth Rs 10 crore, were gutted and the total damage caused so far is estimated to be more than Rs 20 crore.

The godown supervisor said all the items stored have been covered under insurance and the farmers will be given compensation once its insurance claim is cleared.

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