Nine Telangana state power department employees are trapped inside as fire broke out in Srisailam power station on Thursday night. At the time of the incident a total of 30 employees were present inside the powerhouse. While six employees were evacuated and brought out of the tunnel, 15 others managed to sneak through the emergency exit route of the project.
However, nine people were still trapped inside as thick smoke engulfed inside the tunnel. The rescue teams are finding it difficult to reach the place. Ambulances were halted almost half a km away.
The Srisailam Left Bank Power Station is on the Telangana side of the Srisailam reservoir on Krishna river, which is a joint irrigation project between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The power station is situated on the huge tunnel under the Nallamala forests in the vicinity of the reservoir.
As the news broke out, Telangana power minister G Jagadeeshwar Reddy, rushed to the spot along with top TSGenco officials to take stock of the situation. Reddy told reporters that the fire occurred possibly due to short circuit in the electric panels of the power house and spread to other parts of the power station.
Despite trying to douse the fire the TSGenco engineers did not succeed. Hence, they isolated the unit as another alternative. The Fire tenders deployed at the location could not control the fire till last reports came.
“The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were also summoned but they also made three unsuccessful attempts to enter the tunnel till now. Rescue teams from Singareni Collieries are also expected to join the operation,” Reddy said.
It became pitch dark inside the tunnel as the power supply was stopped. It had made it difficult for the trapped staff to come out. This is the first incident of fire in the under-tunnel power unit.
The power plant has two entrances and one exit. Smoke covered the entire stretch. By Friday morning, it started gushing outside. Rescue personnel are hopeful that the teams will enter the tunnel, if smoke comes out further. Rescue operations are currently on at the power station.