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Tanker blaze triggers panic

- A spark from collision or kerosene stove?

An oil tanker caught fire, the flames engulfing two others parked at a godown near Jamshedpur railway station on Monday afternoon before fire tenders fought the blaze for three hours and saved the day.

Fear and panic spread fast in the Mills and Godown Area, encompassing a radius of half a kilometre in Burmamines, as local residents ran helter-skelter seeing flames leap out from the loaded tanker to singe two other oil tankers that were thankfully empty.

As many as six fire tenders, including some from Tata Steel and Tata Motors, took around 15 minutes to assemble at the scene, an area bustling with loading and unloading activity given that it houses several oil depots, too.

The three tankers were gutted but fire tenders were yet to ascertain the cause of the blaze. Local residents claimed the fire was caused by a lighted kerosene stove being used by labourers and drivers to cook meals.

Officer in charge of Burmamines police station J.P.N. Choudhary, who was one of the first to reach the spot, said the tanker which was fully loaded hit another one while reversing around 12.35pm. “A spark may have caused the fire,” he added.

Yet, he didn’t rule out the stove theory entirely. “We are trying to find out the exact cause of the fire so that such an incident doesn’t happen again,” he added.

He said on any given day, as many as 100 oil tankers pass through the area which is near Tatanagar railway station and several residential quarters.

In another devastating fire, a plastic scrap godown was reduced to ashes late on Sunday night near Cable Town under the Golmuri police station. An official of the Golmuri fire station said since the godown had stocked inflammable items, the fire could not be doused, though fire tenders were able to prevent its spread to nearby residential areas.

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