Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dimapur brick kiln explosion toll increases to 8


The death toll of Thursday’s brick kiln chimney blast near Dimapur has increased to eight with the death of three more victims succumbing to their fatal injuries on Friday. The incident occurred when the upper conical portion of the brick kiln chimney fell on the people gathered near it to witness first time ignition of the kiln at L Hotovi Village near Dimapur.
This is the Star Brick factory at L Hotovi Village near Ekranipathar in Dimapur where at least eight people, all labourers were killed on Thursday. These people were killed after a chimney of the brick kiln collapsed due to an explosion in the kiln. The collapsed portion of the chimney, belongings of the injured and killed in the explosion are still lying at the site a day after the tragedy struck the village. At least eight Labourers mostly immigrants employed in the Star brick kiln and also from the nearby brick kilns gathered near the chimney to participate in the lighting of the furnace of the kiln for the first time. The moment the fire was lighted using fuel, the pressure of the fire mixed with the smoke could not come out freely of the upper portion of the conical shaped chimney caused a deafening explosion. The pressure was so heavy that the explosion caused cracks on the walls of the chimney. People gathered near the chimney sustained fatal injuries mostly in the head when the upper portion caved in on them due to the impact of the explosion.
The kiln was lying closed for almost 5 years and on Thursday the new owner had planned to start production. Since it was the first occasion of lighting of fire in the kiln for the season, a large number of people from the neighborhoods had gathered to witness how the kiln operates. After all the bricks were laid inside the kiln to be baked and ignited, the pressure built by the fire caused the 5-year old 110-feet chimney to crack, ultimately leading it to cave in and along with it, several thousands of bricks fell atop people gathered to witness the event. Two persons died on the spot due to head injuries, while more than 25 were shifted to Zion, Civil and Referral Hospitals at Dimapur with most of them in critical conditions. Another injured succumbed to his injuries on the way to Civil Hosptial while one passed away at Referral Hospital and another succumbed to injuries at Civil Hospital. Among the injured was one of the owners of the kiln, who was identified as one Akahoto. He was admitted in the ICU of the ZHRC in a critical condition. Seventeen of the injured were admitted at the ZHRC and the rest admitted to the district hospital.
The incident is an eye opener for the concerned departments of Nagaland government along with the state’s pollution control board. It shows that the industries department’s rules were violated by the brick factory’s proprietors thus putting the lives of the workers at stake. What action the industry department and the Pollution Control Board take against the brick factory’s authority will remain to be seen in the coming days.


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