Hyderabad, Aug 21 (IANS) Efforts are on to rescue nine employees trapped inside after a fire broke out at TS Genco’s underground hydroelectric power station at Srisailam left bank canal in Telangana on Friday.
Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and experts from Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) joined the rescue operations.
The fire, which broke out late on Thursday, was brought under control by the firefighters but thick smoke was hampering rescue operations.
A short circuit is believed to have caused the fire at unit one of the under-tunnel power house. Of the 30 persons reported to be present at the spot during the accident, 21 escaped through a tunnel.
Those trapped inside include six Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TS Genco) employees and three private company employees.
One of the survivors said the sparks were first noticed on a panel. “This was followed by a series of explosions. There was utter chaos and we all ran out for safety.”
Telangana energy minister Jagadish Reddy and TS Genco and Transco Chairman and Managing Director Prabhakar Rao rushed to the spot and were overseeing the rescue efforts.
Reddy said that the mishap occurred in the first unit of the power station and four panels were damaged. He said that rescue personnel were unable to enter the tunnel due to thick smoke.
“As soon as the fire started, they tried to trip the units but that did not happen. So we isolated the 400 KV input and all units were tripped,” said Prabhakar Rao.
Power generation operations at the power station have been suspended following the incident.
The Srisailam dam is located across the Krishna river which serves as the border between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao expressed shock over the fire at the Srisailam power generation plant. The chief minister spoke to Jagdish Reddy and Prabhakar Rao and reviewed the relief measures.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was scheduled to visit Srisailam on Friday, cancelled his visit in view of the fire. He expressed shock over the incident and hoped that the trapped people are rescued. Jagan Mohan Reddy assured all support from Andhra Pradesh in the rescue operations.