Pune: One person died and another was injured in a major fire accident at High Energy Materials Research Laboratory of DRDO on Tuesday. Sources confirmed that the accident occurred in building No. 16 of HEMRL at around 3 pm.
The deceased worker was identified as Laxmikant Sonawane, 30, a native of Nandurbar, whereas, the injured worker has been identified as Yogesh Kirtikar, 28, a resident of Pashan. Both were working as contract labourers at HEMRL and were deployed by one Thane-based company known as Shree Gajanan Facilities Pvt Ltd.
According to sources, the accident occurred while they were cutting the gas generator’s composite propellant. “The two men were working with a hacksaw and were cutting the propellant in the explosive area. The fire explosion had occurred because of the friction while they were cutting the propellant. Sonwane, who was using the hacksaw, died on the spot, whereas, Kirtikar has received burn injuries on his hands, eyes and head,” said a source at HEMRL.
It is significant to note that both the workers were not experts in explosives and neither they were carpenters. They have not received any formal training to do the propellant cutting.
A HEMRL official on the condition of anonymity, said, “DRDO doesn’t even give compensation to the workers who die in such accidents while giving their services in these scientific projects. In the year 2015 accident, all HEMRL employees donated their salary to the family of deceased contract worker Deepak Pokale and two other injured workers.
KPS Murthy, Director, HEMRL, said, “It was very unfortunate that a contractual labour died in the accident. The actual cause of the accident will be revealed only after a detailed investigation.”
Arun Vaykar, Police Inspector, Hinjewadi police station, said, “A police team rushed to the spot immediately after the incident. We have initiated an investigation into the matter and will find out the reasons for the accident.”