The factory building collapsed after the fire and residents living nearby complained of breathing problems from the smell of the gas that was released, police and residents said.
“First we thought it was an earthquake, the way our building was shaking,” said Sumedh Joshi, who lives about a mile away from the factory. “Our window panes shattered due to the blast and we quickly came out of our building.”
Twenty fire brigades and 15 ambulances were sent for the rescue operation, one police official said.
“We are investigating the reason behind the explosion,” local police official Ashutosh Dumbare said, adding that a disaster response team was trying to rescue several people trapped underneath the debris.
“The rescue work will take time, maybe until tomorrow morning. So far five people are confirmed dead and nine people are seriously injured.”