"While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, at this point it seems that a boiler containing solvents overheated due to high pressure in Novaphene and exploded".
The impact of the blast was felt in villages around 8 km away from the factory, he said.
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During the search operation, three unidentified dead bodies were found at chemical factory Arti Industries, said an official. The fire, that had spread to the other buildings, has been brought under control and efforts are on to douse it, the officer said.
People those who are injured are admitted to a local hospital. "The fire has come down, but few areas are still burning".
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Novaphene Specialities' head office is located in Dahisar and is owned by the Shah Group which has been manufacturing acid chlorides, reagents, personal cosmetic care, pharmaceutical intermediates and other products for the past five decades. They include Novophene, Unimax, Arti, Prachi, Rasayan and Darbar. Aarti Drug's staffer Sunil Yadav said he heard a loud explosion while he was working at night. "All precautionary measures are now in place", Palghar police superintendent Manjunath Singhe told The Indian Express. The blaze has reportedly engulfed two nearby factories, too.
Tarapur MIDC has around 1,100 chemical units which store hazardous and flammable chemicals. Collector Narnavre said: "The Department of Industrial Safety was formed to look into industrial compliances post last year's industrial fire incident in Wada Taluka, Palghar".
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Nearby houses shook and window panes were shattered. Tarapur Automic Power Station, which is also situated on Boisar-Tarapur Road is around 20 kms away from the spot, he added.