A massive fire at the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) depot near Jaipur has been raging on for almost 12 hours now. Five people have died and over 150 have been injured. Officials say the death toll could rise.
The explosion took place on Thursday at 1930 hrs IST at IOC petrol depot in Sitapura area on the outskirts of Jaipur city when petrol was being transported to a pipeline and the fire soon engulfed the entire depot, spreading over 5 kilometres.
Firefighting teams including special chemical fire tenders sprang into action to bring the blaze under control.
A team of experts is reaching Jaipur on Friday so that the inferno can be brought under control and lives can be saved. They will also put measures in place which ensure that such a disaster doesn't occur again.
District officials declared the area a danger zone, rushing to evacuate nearly 5 lakh people including students from 10 neighbouring colleges and 10 villagers in the vicinity.
The IOC depot contains nearly nine million litres of fuel products. Authorities are still trying to ascertain what caused a catastrophe of this scale.
Experts don't know whether it a stray firecracker that ignited the flames or was it a mild earthquake that occurred moments earlier that triggered the disaster.
Army personnel have also been deployed and are helping with the firefighting operation. Over 20 ambulances are involved in ferrying the injured to nearby hospitals.