Industrial Firefighting

India Gas Fire Kills Two Firefighters, Prompts Evacuations

Firefighters at India gas fire
National Disaster Response Force personnel participate in a rescue operation at the site of an oil well that exploded and caught fire at Baghjan, Tinsukia district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. A raging fire at the natural gas field has killed two firefighters and forced nearly 8,000 people to leave their homes, an official said Wednesday. Workers have been trying to cap the well since gas started leaking nearly two weeks ago, said Tridiv Hazarika, a spokesman for government-owned Oil India Limited, which operates the gas field in Baghjan, 550 kilometers (345 miles) east of Gauhati, the Assam state capital. (AP Photo/Partha Sarathi Das)

By WASBIR HUSSAIN Associated Press

GAUHATI, India (AP) — A raging fire at a natural gas field in remote northeastern India has killed two firefighters and forced nearly 8,000 people to leave their homes, an official said Wednesday.

Workers have been trying to cap the well since gas started leaking nearly two weeks ago, said Tridiv Hazarika, a spokesman for government-owned Oil India Limited, which operates the gas field in Baghjan, 550 kilometers (345 miles) east of Gauhati, the Assam state capital.

The well caught fire with explosions Tuesday, when the two firefighters went missing. Their bodies were recovered Wednesday, Hazarika said.

On Wednesday, flames were leaping nearly 50 feet (15 meters) into the sky more than 36 hours after the inferno began.

Smoke plume from fire in India
People walk behind cattle, as smoke rises after the natural gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) caught fire at Baghjan, Tinsukia district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The blowout came more than 10 days after the well started spewing gas, according to news reports. No injuries have been reported so far. (AP Photo/Partha Sarothi Das)

“We started evacuating people in the vicinity of the well from May 28 onward and have flown in experts from the Singapore-based company Alert Disaster Control,” Hazarika said.

The fire in the periphery of the well has been doused, but it has spread mainly because of the presence of natural gas condensate in the region, Hazarika said.

Hundreds of people came out of villages in the periphery to watch the fire and the thick black plume of smoke which could be seen several kilometres (miles) away.

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