Mumbai: A fire broke out Tuesday (29.12.2009) in a chemistry lab at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) located just a kilometre away from the nuclear reactors leaving two persons dead but scientists said there was no danger of any radioactivity.
Scientists at suburban Trombay-based BARC said there was a loud bang in the chemistry lab after which black smoke billowed out. It was not immediately clear if the bang was caused by any explosion or triggered by a chemical reaction.
No research involving radioactive material is conducted in the multi-storied modular lab in which the chemistry lab was housed, they said.
It was also stated that no reactor, radioactivity or radiation is involved in the accident.
The victims were yet to be identified as the bodies are charred beyond recognition, a BARC release said. But sources said they could be trainee scientists. Some equipment was also damaged in the blaze, scientists said.
"The fire broke out at 12:05 hours in the chemistry lab on the third floor of the modular lab of BARC. There was a loud bang after which black smoke billowed out of the chemistry lab filling the corridor," BARC director and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Sreekumar Banerjee said.
BARC fire brigade officials rushed to the spot and doused the blaze within 45 minutes after. The fire-fighters later made their way to the lab negotiating broken windows and located two badly charred bodies.
The laboratory has been cordoned off and police was conducting investigations. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Forensic experts also joined the investigations.
The chemistry lab stored scientific equipments like spectrometers for kinetic and spectroscopy measurements.
"All these instruments were burnt in the fire but fortunately the fire did not spread to the other labs in the building," Banerjee said.
Usually, seven people worked in the lab but today only two were there.
The modular lab at BARC is home to a number of departmental labs and hundreds of people work on different floors of the building. Instruments, chemicals and gadgets required for research are stored at the labs.
Security has been beefed at BARC following intelligence inputs that the country's prestigious nuclear facility faced terror threat
(News item seen in the web site of ZEE NEWS)