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Assam gas well fire: Two missing firefighters found dead, flames continue to erupt

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Two firefighters have died in the massive fire that broke out at the gas well of Oil India at Baghjan in Tinsukia district of Assam, the company spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The two firefighters had gone missing after the well caught fire on Tuesday and their bodies were recovered by an NDRF team Wednesday morning, Oil India Spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said.

“Their bodies were recovered from a wetland near the site. Prima facie, it looks that they jumped in the water and got drowned as there is no mark of burn injury. The exact cause will be ascertained only after a post mortem,” he said.

The duo has been identified as Durlov Gogoi and Tikeswar Gohain, both assistant operators of the fire service department of the company, the official said.

An oil well, which first burst on May 27 in Assam, and continued to leak oil and gas, caught fire on June 9 and it would take at least four weeks for the authorities to bring the blaze under control.

Experts from Singapore and various other engineers were at work when the well operated by state-owned Oil India Limited (OIL) exploded into flames.

“While the clearing operations were on at the well site, the well caught fire. Fire tenders are at the site controlling the spread of fire. The exact reason is yet to be ascertained,” OIL spokesman Tridiv Hazarika told Outlook.

At least 200 workers including the foreign experts were working at the site and they luckily escaped unhurt, he added.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has spoken to defence minister Rajnath Singh and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan regarding the incident. He directed state industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary to immediately visit the area to take stock of the situation.

Sonowal, while expressing his apprehension about the impact of the fire on the environment and people living in the fringe areas, stressed the need of putting out the fire at the earliest to ensure a conducive living condition for people.

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