BELAVATHA MYSTERY FIRE: Industrial waste may have caused fire, says report

BELAVATHA MYSTERY FIRE: Industrial waste may have caused fire, says report

April 21, 2017

Mysuru: The Deputy Director of Factories has suspected that industrial waste dumped in the field at Shyadanahalli near Belavatha on the outskirts of Mysuru triggered the fire that caused the death of 14-year-old Harshal. This report strengthens the earlier views that were expressed soon after the accident.

In a report submitted by to Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep yesterday, Deputy  Director of Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety and Health, D.C. Jagadeesh has stated that sporadic burning at the site indicates that chemicals with flammable characteristics may have been disposed of there.

“Spontaneous combustion of carbon and coal found in the ash deposits is causing the soil to let off fumes and fire,” he stated in the report.

“There are a few factories in and around the site which uses chemicals, and the evidence at the site also indicates that in order to get rid of the waste chemicals, factory authorities would have used the area to dispose it in an unsafe manner,” the report added.

Analysis of ash found in the dump contains coal fines and the fumes or fire may be due to the internal combustion of coal fines trapped beneath the ash, as per the report.

The report says burnt chemical bottle lids and mangled plastic bottles were also found at the site and some of the shrubs were also burnt.  

The report pointed out that there are a few industries that generate ash from the boilers and their disposal methodology has to be reviewed to identity whether the landowner had requested the management to fill the land with the ash generated, or whether it was dumped illegally.

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Mysuru has received three to four spells of rain in the last 15 days. The rainwater may have swept the surface of the ash deposited and the same has settled in the valley with a sand cover on the top, says the report.

“Spontaneous combustion occurs when a pile or accumulation of coal over a period of time, begins to auto-oxidise and leads to a reaction resulting in heat and flame,” says the report.


As if to support the report by the Deputy Director of Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety and Health, the analysis done by a Mysuru-based chemical engineer S. Rajashekar (it was inadvertently mentioned yesterday that he was from Bengaluru) says that biomass accumulation under the sand could have caused fire.

It may be recalled here that SOM had carried a detailed report yesterday on Rajashekar’s theory. He said that large-scale burning of coconut shells to convert them into coal briquettes at Shyadanahalli might have contributed to the fire.

Rajashekar, who has submitted his report to the Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep, stated in his report that there were a couple of such coconut shell burning units near the site where the boy Harshal suffered chemical burns.

Meanwhile, the 10-member committee appointed by the Pollution Control Board to study the cause of fire is expected to visit the site later next week and submit the final report.


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