A major disaster was averted when timely action by the personnel of Air Force Station Hashimara in West Bengal prevented a petrol tanker from exploding after it caught fire close to the establishment on Friday, defence sources said.
A petrol tanker was reported to be on fire at around 2 p.m. just about 300 meters from the gate of the station, and a van parked alongside it also caught fire, the sources said.
"Within minutes, Air Force Station Hashimara rushed two fire tenders to the site to contain the fire. The blaze was very big and it was taking longer than envisaged. It was then decided by the station authorities to dispatch two of their Crash Fire Tenders (special purpose fire tenders used to put out aircraft fires) that proved immensely beneficial in bringing the fire under control," said a source.
Meanwhile, fire tenders from the Alipurduar district administration also reached the spot from their base almost 16 km away.
"The air force police personnel cordoned off the area and also stopped traffic on the road as there was the danger of the fuel-laden tanker exploding. The situation was further complicated by the proximity of the Kendriya Vidyalaya school, whose children had just about started to leave."
The blaze was finally put off after about three hours, but the tanker and the van were gutted.
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