18 Dead In Fire At Pune Sanitiser Firm, Rescuers Search For Missing Staff

Pune Fire: The local fire department told NDTV that 37 employees were working inside the unit when the fire broke out.

Pune Fire: While 20 workers were rescued, bodies of 14 have been recovered so far.

Pune:

At least eighteen employees of a chemical factory in Maharashtra's Pune have died and several are missing as a massive fire broke out in the sanitiser-manufacturing unit of the firm on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the deaths of the workers. "Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a factory in Pune, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families," he tweeted.

According to news agency PTI, at least six fire engines were rushed to the plant of SVS Aqua Technologies in Pune.

The local fire department told NDTV that 37 employees had been working inside the unit when the fire broke out; 20 of them were rescued.

In visuals, a thick plume of black smoke is seen over the campus of the sanitiser firm. People run towards safety near the gate, while others stand still to watch the fire.

The fire started during packing of plastic materials in the premises, the fire department said.

"Due to some spark at the (packaging) section, the fire broke out and as there was plastic around, so it spread rapidly," an official told PTI.

The fire is now under control and search for the missing workers is underway, officials said.