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2 OIL firefighters found dead near Baghjan well blowout site; fire continues to rage

Two firefighters engaged in dousing the massive fire that engulfed well number 5 at the site of the well blowout in Assam’s Baghjan were found dead

Two firefighters engaged in dousing the massive fire that engulfed well number 5 at the site of the well blowout in Assam’s Baghjan were found dead.
Two firefighters engaged in dousing the massive fire that engulfed well number 5 at the site of the well blowout in Assam’s Baghjan were found dead.
  • Prima facie, it looks like the firefighters jumped into water to save themselves and got drowned as there is no mark of burn injury, a spokesperson said

  • The spokesperson also said that the fire is still raging but has been contained now to a 50-metre radius around the site

New Delhi: Two firefighters engaged in dousing the massive fire that engulfed well number 5 at the site of the well blowout in Assam’s Baghjan in Tinsukia district were found dead near a wetland on Wednesday. They had been missing since June 9. An oilfield of state-run OIL (Oil India Limited), which has been flowing gas uncontrollably since May 27, has been on fire since June 9. The gas leaking from the Baghjan well is said to have caught fire during cleaning operations, leading to an explosion.

“Their bodies were recovered from a wetland near the site. Prima facie, it looks like they jumped in the water and got drowned as there is no mark of burn injury. The exact cause will be ascertained only after a post mortem,” an OIL spokesperson told PSU Watch. In addition, four people — two from OIL, one from ONGC and one contractor — have also sustained injuries in the fire incident. “Currently, fire tenders are spraying water to contain fire from spreading in the surrounding areas. Arrangement of additional water for fire control is in progress,” an official statement said.

Baghjan well blowout: Fire still raging but contained to 50-metre radius

The spokesperson also said that the fire is still raging but has been contained now to a 50-metre radius around the site of the well blowout in Baghjan. It is still burning because the oilfield is still leaking gas.

On June 9, around 1,600 families living in the vicinity were evacuated to safer areas.

Experts will need 25-28 days to control situation: Assam CM

Briefing Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation and the action taken by the state government, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, “The fire has now been confined to an area of 50 metres. Experts believe that they need around 25-28 days to control the situation. We have successfully evacuated people from that area. PM Modi has assured full assistance to the state.”

The backdrop

The Baghjan oil field explosion had taken place a day after three experts from Singapore-based firm — Alert Disaster Control — reached Assam in order to help OIL control the well blowout. The IAF (Indian Air Force) and the Army are part of the fire control operations. While the IAF is involved in firefighting, the Army is helping the NDRF and local authorities in rescue and relief work.