Major Emergency in Pune as 'Toxic Gas' Leaks After Tanker Topples; Traffic Diverted, Driver Falls Sick

A major emergency situation took place in Maharashtra’s Pune after highly flammable and toxic ethylene oxide leaked when a tanker carrying the gas toppled near Vadgaon Sheri Chowk on the Pune-Ahmednagar Highway.

The incident took place in the early hours of Monday, forcing the fire brigade and Pune Police to swing into action amid dangers of explosion and health issues.

major emergency in pune as 'toxic gas' leaks after tanker topples; traffic diverted, driver falls sick

Eight fire vehicles ahve been deployed by the Pune and PMRDA fire department. (Yesha Kotak/News18)

Ethylene Oxide or EtO possesses several health hazards. Acute exposures to EtO gas may result in respiratory irritation and lung injury, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and cyanosis.

A report in Indian Express quoted officials from Pune Fire Brigade as saying that they received a call around 12.47 am on Monday about the leakage of ethylene oxide, a highly flammable, toxic and carcinogenic chemical, from a tanker operated by a private sector chemical company, toppled.

“Considering the seriousness of the leak and risk of explosion and toxic exposure, we started deploying fire tenders from all nearby fire stations to the spot. Prima facie the tanker is operated by Reliance Petrochemicals and we informed the company officials,” a fire brigade official said.

He added, “After our fire tenders reached the spot, continuous spraying of water was started from the tenders on the tanker at the spot from where the leak is taking place. The spraying has not stopped even for a moment since our tenders reached the spot. One team from the company has arrived at the spot.”

The report had stated that the fire department’s chemical emergency response vehicles were expected to reach by around 8 am. “We will continue to spray water until then,” the official was further quoted.

The area was cordoned off by local police and traffic control branch, and the traffic was diverted on Pune-Ahmednagar road and also some of the connecting roads to the area.

Fire brigade officials were quoted as saying that the driver of the tanker was admitted to the hospital after he complained of respiratory distress due to suspected toxic exposure. There were no other reports of cases of exposure, fire brigade officials added.

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