The Unsung Heroes of Odisha fire services and Commissionerate police- 10102020

Bhubaneswar- Even  a  day  after the   massive blast in the underground LPG chamber inside a filling station near Raj Bhawan, the locals are shaken and shell shocked. The residents of the nearby posh enclave will never forget the near deafening ear piercing sonic boom and the flames which rose 200 feet or more high. Projectiles were showered even at a distance of 150 feet; the earth shaking tremors will be long remembered.  

Experts from all over the country have lauded the efforts of the Odisha Fire Services and the Police in their response to averting a major disaster. Just five minutes after the explosion, the Fire engines had arrived at the debris strewn site and the fire men went to work immediately, not realising the grave danger they were exposing themselves to. Had not the adjoining tanks been cooled, many more severe explosions would have happened, which could have been catastrophic both for life and property.  There was another gas filled tank, a loaded gas tanker truck besides the immense amount of diesel and petrol in the underground tanks, any delay would have resulted in a major mishap. The timely action by the police and firemen contained the disaster to only one underground tank; the spread was restricted by the immediate actions taken.   

The police teams, led by the Commissioner were at the site minutes after the explosion and much collateral damage was prevented. The manner in which the Capital hospital and the SCB Medical Hospital responded too is laudable. The explosion has been captured in the CCTV of the place and will help in the investigations. The post-incident investigation should determine the causes, both immediate and underlying, in order that lessons can be learned and corrective action taken. With the involvement of multiple agencies, it is going to be no easy task. If equipment or system failure are the cause of the incident, then other such gas stations should be alerted and stringent safety checks implemented. 

The role of the brave firemen and police personnel, who, at the risk of their lives, saved a major catastrophe, should be properly acknowledged. They went to work in a near war zone, not even fully understanding   the extent of the disaster  and emerged as heroes.  

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