Transformer of Sanjay Vidyut Project bursts, 3 injured

A fire broke out in a transformer at a power project at Bhaba, about 200 km from here, in the wee hours of today but a major tragedy was averted after three persons risked their lives to shut down the system and sustained injuries.

Fire broke out in the underground powerhouse after a 10MVA transformer of the 120 MW Sanjay Vidyut Project of Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) burst at around 3.10 AM, a senior HPSEB official said.

After the fire, the powerhouse was filled with smoke and staff on duty had to come out through the ventilators. There were ten staff on duty at the time of incident.

Three persons -- Sarab Dayal Gupta, Gopal and Ram Lal -- risked their lives to shut down the system but they could not come out immediately and were trapped inside as the exit route was filled with smoke.

They suffered from asphyxia and were rushed to hospital, the official said.

"The shut down saved the project as it stopped the fire from spreading but it was yet to be fully controlled as highly inflammable 'transformer oil' is leaking from the transformer at intervals and fire is recurring," Managing Director of HPSEB, PC Negi said.

Fire tenders of the project and of Sutluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, Jaypee Project and from other near by places were fighting the fire for past 14 hours but spilling oil was causing trouble, he added.

"The cause of fire could not be ascertained but the project is safe. Efforts are on to control the fire and foam cylinders are being brought from other places also," Negi said.

Fifteen foam cylinders have been sent from Kalpa while 30 from Shimla were on the way to extinguish the fire, Project authorities said.

The injured persons are safe and out of danger and have been discharged from the hospital, they said.

The Sanjay Vidyut Project has three units of 40 MW each but at present only one unit was in operation as the discharge of water had reduced drastically due to severe winters.

The project was commissioned in January 1990 and inaugurated by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.