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Major blaze breaks out at Unicharm’s Sanand facility

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on June 26, 2020 Published on June 24, 2020

The company says the impact on the business is being assessed

A massive fire on Wednesday morning gutted the entire manufacturing facility of sanitary products maker Unicharm India Pvt Ltd - an Indian arm of Japan's Unicharm Corporation – located at Sanand near Ahmedabad.

Per the information from the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES), a brigade call was sounded after receiving a fire call at around 9.14 am.

The massive blaze raged-on uncontrolled for more than eight hours- destroying the facility, which manufactured products including sanitary napkins, diapers etc.

The primary cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit at one of its storage areas, where the materials and products were stored. This caused the fire to spread fast and get severe with clouds of smoke being visible from a distance of about two kilometres.

"It was a major fire and took several hours to bring it under control. Heavy winds, along with the fire-sensitive materials kept inside the factory had further made it difficult to control. More than 36 fire vehicles including ones from AFES, from nearby Dholka town and Tata Motors' Sanand facility, were rushed to the spot with more than 270 firemen in action," said a senior police officer overseeing the rescue operations. "The detailed investigation is on for the cause of the fire," he added.

In a statement after the incident, Unicharm issued a statement, saying, "For Unicharm Corporation's subsidiary Unicharm India Private Ltd.'s Ahmedabad Factory (Gujrat State which is in the western part of India), on June 24, 2020, at 8:45 am (Local time), a fire broke out. During the time of the fire, about 300 employees were at the site, however, no injuries have occurred."

"We deeply apologize for the tremendous trouble and inconvenience we have caused to people in the area, customers, clients, and partners. For the reason and the damage of the situation for the fire, it is currently under investigation. We have taken this factory fire very seriously and will determine the cause of it and strive to prevent a recurrence," it added.

About the impact on the business, the company said, "We are currently investigating the impact on consolidated business results. If we determine that it will have a significant impact on the company's consolidated business results, we will notify you immediately."

Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had tweeted expressing concern about the incident and asked National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to be ready for rescue work.

"Fortunately, the company's fire evacuation protocols were robust. As soon as, the fire alarms went off, the entire workforce of the factory had evacuated the premises without anyone getting hurt," the police officer said.

An official statement from Unicharm wasn't received till the time of going into print.

The plant, which was inaugurated in September 2018, is the largest facility for the company in India. Unicharm also has a unit in Andhra Pradesh.

Spread over 3,00,000 sq m, the facility is one of the major suppliers of sanitary napkins and diapers for the Indian market with a large share of 35-40 per cent.

Unicharm's popular products include MamyPoko, Sofy and Lifree.

Unicharm also uses the Sanand facility to export its products to some global markets.

Published on June 24, 2020
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