This incident I can never forget. This happened while I was working as Quality control Analyst in one of the Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals. 

 All these pharmaceuticals need GMP certification to manufacture, which states how the manufacturing unit should be, proper ventilation, the safety measures that the employees should adhere to and the hygienic way of preparation of medications.

So here I was working in a manufacturing unit of patent medications, and the place where I worked lacked safety measures for the employees who were involved in the medicine preparation. The manufacturing unit had just one door for both entry and exit, and there was no other exit(no doors or windows) in case of any hazards. The manufacturing unit was relatively warmer always, because there were no windows in most of section except for one. There were separate sections for preparing syrups, creams, tablets, capsules and separate syrup and oil filling sections and blistering of capsules and tablets section. 

 I guess that day was Thursday(My Baba’s day). As usual I reached the office by 9am and I had to allot the preparation chart for the day and also check the quality of each of those preparations. There was a syrup preparation that was going on that day, in addition to capsule filling and blistering. There was this temperature control syrup preparation container that we were using just recently, however there was some issue with this container and temperature control wasn’t working. We were however informed to use this machine, considering the amount of time required to prepare 200+ltrs of a syrup at once, manually. 

The syrup preparation room was small, so only one or two person could be present there at any given time. I was busy in the morning monitoring the syrup preparation and note that, that day in the same syrup preparation room another syrup too was being prepared manually, over gas stove just next to this electric syrup preparation machine. So two syrups at a time. I just happened to check all of it and quickly left that room, as I had to check the capsule filling and blistering of tablets, I finished making note of all the 3 and without paying attention anywhere else, I came out of the manufacturing unit and before I could step in to my office cabin, something prompted me to look back in to the manufacturing unit, I was just right at the door. When I looked back, what I saw was, fire had broken out in the syrup section and the flames were raging towards other units now!!! I stood frozen for few seconds, I had just passed from there!! It looked like I was given the time to step out and as soon as I did, the fire took over!!

The manager was present right there just in time, and he immediately called the Director and informed him about the incident and he immediately arrived as his family stayed close by. The manager by then pulled off the fuse to avoid further damage due to electricity and also turned off the cylinder that was placed outside( luckily it was placed outside just the previous evening until then the cylinder was always in the syrup preparation room, except for that day!!! the regulator pipe was passing in to the syrup room through a inlet. There was only one exit door like I mentioned before.

I was safe with God’s grace and now the other employees??!!, Somehow one guy managed to escape from there, some the same door and he was very lil hurt with the fire. Fire fighters were called, now this guy and the manager broken open the metal shutter that was found near the capsule room(It was never used, never oiled and was always locked from outside, no windows either). Key was not found, all the employees were now gathered in the capsule filling room, they were now feeling choked due to the smoke!!! This guy got a big rock and started breaking open the lock of this room from outside and he managed to somehow pull the shutter up one to two feet above ground level and all the people caught there, sneaked out one after the other. 

As soon as they came out they started crying, I pacified them and they had breathing issues because of the smoke so the Director requested me to take them to near by hospital and that he would follow me in sometime. I did so and they were all getting treated, by then their family members came rushing to the hospital and I had to talk to each one of them to say that they were out of danger and were suppose to stay in the hospital for 24hrs and could leave the next day. I was with them till evening and came back home and it rained very heavily that day. My poor pet dog(Bunty) was terrified with heavy rain and thunders, he was alone at home as my parents and both my brothers were out of station. I called up my parents and informed them about the fire mishap and they were worried, however knowing I was fine they were relieved. If something had happened to me, it would have been worse because they were all out of station 600kms away and there was no way they could come quickly except for the bus that takes close to 10hrs and also cannot imagine the plight of my poor fur brother(Bunty)!!!:(

I was again saved, yet another time and he always proved himself that he is always walking besides me. 

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Manjula P Badiger

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