Published On : Mon, May 11th, 2015

Wadi Petrol Pump Fire: Major disaster averted, tanker with 10,000 liter didn’t blast

Surprisingly, 10,000 liters of fuel is still safe inside the tanker

IMG-20150511-WA0170Nagpur: 48 hours after the major fire in Hindustan Petroleum Petrol Pump situated on Wadi Road on May 9, 2015 and all that remains is a mangled heap of metal and plastic and fibre-glass.

While speaking exclusively with Nagpur Today, owner of Krishna Petrol Pump Kamal Baweja said that he incurred a loss of Rs 25 lakh and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) incurred a loss of Rs 1.5 crores. According to him, the premises with the machinery, vending machines, roof, displays and all other paraphernalia is insured by the company (HPCL in this case), while the petrol and diesel is insured by the owner of the petrol pump.

According to Baweja he incurred a loss of Rs 25 lakhs worth of petrol and diesel. He added that Rs two and a half lakhs which was in cash from the sale of petrol and diesel too was reduced to ashes.

Baweja further added that  the tanker is owned by a person from Chandrapur. The tanker is insured by him and is his liability.

IMG-20150511-WA0174Baweja while recounting the incident of that day claimed that the petrol caught fire while unloading the petrol in the underground tank. With the pressure increasing the petrol spilled on the ground and spread out in all directions. Soon the fire too raged from almost every-where. As fired on and was swallowing everything that came its way, not wanting to take any risk, everybody rushed outside, leaving everything as it is.

Fire destroyed the office of Krishna Petrol Pump with all documents and cash of Rupees two and a half lakhs. Four motorcycles of employees which were parked in the rear of the pump were reduced to a mangled heap. Unfortunately of the four vehicles one of them was not insured.

High temperature could be the cause?

Baweja while recounting the intense heat in Wadi area said that compared to the city temperature, Wadi area always has two degrees above the normal. Therefore when Nagpur recorded the temperature as 45 degrees Celsius, Wadi area had nearly 47 degrees.

Interesting and strange discovery

The truck too was reduced to ashes. The truck tyres practically melted down. However, the owner Baweja discovered that nearly 10,000 liters of petrol is still in the tanker absolutely safe. Had the petrol tanker burst, Baweja claimed that a large area with people and shops would have got destroyed in Wadi area. Till the time of filing the story, the tanker and the burnt and mangled remains of the fire was closely guarded for the insurance company officials to inspect the spot and investigate for the loss. Baweja claimed that they had insured with Oriental Insurance Company.

IMG-20150511-WA0177While speaking about the underground tank that holds petrol and diesel, he said that that there is a safety valve and can never burst or catch fire. The gas fumes may get ignited and may burn for a long time, but even if a lighted match-stick falls into the tank, it won’t catch fire since it needs oxygen to get ignited.

President of Petrol Pump Owners’ Association Harvinder Singh Bhatia while speaking to Nagpur Today said that the fire was a result of intense atmospheric temperature of 47 degree Celsius. He added that there could be various other factors like static electricity, bad earthing, loose coupling of the pipe-line used to transfer petrol from tanker to the underground storage tank etc.

When asked if this was the first and only incident of India or Nagpur, Bhatia said that such incidents have occurred in Bhopal, Jaipur and other cities too. He claimed that a similar incident occurred 5 years ago in Nagpur. However, the driver showed a lot of courage and drove the tanker outside the pump and put out the fire averting a major disaster. Bhatia claimed that one good thing that happened in the fire on Saturday is that there were no casualties. He claimed that had the tanker blasted nearly 200 lives in the vicinity of the petrol pump would have lost.

Samule Gunashekran