No signs of conspiracy in fire

CID sleuths not to rush to conclusions

No signs of any evidence suggesting conspiracy or foul play in the fire accident at Srisailam hydel power project were found in the investigation conducted so far.

However, sleuths of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) do not want to jump to any conclusion and rule out ‘conspiracy element’ in the incident that claimed nine lives. Instead of completely relying on their regular procedures, they are involving persons having expertise in electrical engineering to reconstruct the incident.

“Our task now is to ascertain if there was any element of negligence in maintenance of trip systems, safety mechanisms which ignited fire and eventually resulted in an explosion of sorts,” CID officials unwilling to be named said.

Forensic experts are gathering evidence to assess as to how the fire started. Unlike in regular fire accidents or explosions, in the present investigation it is not sufficient to establish the cause of fire. The exact measurement of resistance or capacitance of the electric components that ignited and spread the fire is equally important.

This required specialised examination and involvement of electrical engineering experts. Some engineers suspected if the fire accident was the result of electric arcing. It is described as discharge of power when a strong current jumps a gap in a circuit or between two electrodes. Forensic experts said it is difficult to confirm, in case of electrical arcing, if it occurred prior to ignition of fire or as a result of the fire. Though the inputs given by staff members and the injured are helping investigators in reconstructing the whole incident, they are yet to precisely assess the physical conditions of the electrical systems that were there before the fire broke out.

It was confirmed that the fire occurred reportedly while affixing new batteries at the control room. Questions as to why installation of the batteries was taken up late in the night have cropped up.

CID sleuths are yet to find an answer to such critical questions. Meanwhile, they are verifying if adequate fire fighting systems were available at the hydel power plant and why the fire could not be put out using the fire extinguishers available there.

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