At least 13 people were injured due to a massive explosion at a chemical factory on Otto Volek Road in New Germany, west of Durban, on Tuesday.
The chemical manufacturing company, identified as Zeta Laboratories, was engulfed in flames as highly flammable substances combined with heavy winds made it nightmare for firefighters to battle the blaze.
Zeta Laboratories manager Nikesh Singh told TimesLIVE about 115 employees were on site when the fire started.
“We are not sure what the exact cause is and investigations are ongoing. We are a chemical company and we make cosmetics for other companies.”
Singh said at least two staff members had sustained “minor injuries” and had been transported to hospital.
Advanced life support paramedic Garrith Jamieson said at least 13 people sustained injuries and were transported to hospital.
“Just after 11am we received multiple calls about an explosion at a chemical factory in the Pinetown area. Multiple services were dispatched and were met with a nasty fire on arrival.”
Jamieson said at least two explosions occurred within the vicinity.
Metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad confirmed that a chemical factory was on fire, that all units had been dispatched to the scene and the vicinity had been closed to the public.
“All units are mobile to the scene, including search and rescue units. The entire road has been closed off to the public. Please avoid the vicinity at all costs,” he said.
Emergency services are on scene at what is believed to be chemical lab in New Germany, west of Durban, which is on fire. Advanced life support paramedic Garrith Jamieson says at least two explosions have been reported and multiple people have been inured. @TimesLIVE
— Orrin Singh (@orrin417) December 8, 2020
In a voice note circulated on Tuesday morning, a woman was heard calling for someone to send firefighters to 20 Otto Volek Road. Explosions and screams could be heard in the background.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.
On Friday, seven people were treated for smoke inhalation when part of the Engen oil refinery in Wentworth, south of Durban, exploded.
by Orrin Singh