Two held for setting fire to plastic factory
Police in Kerala yesterday arrested two workers for setting fire to a plastic factory after the management cut their salaries.
Family Plastics, a leading exporter, last week reported a loss of Rs5bn in the blaze that gutted its warehouse in the state capital.
Firefighters worked overnight to douse the blaze which also turned into an ecological disaster for Thiruvananthapuram that boasts of cleaner air compared to other cities in India.
The police identified the employees as Vimal Kumar and Binu.
The company last month cut their pay by Rs 600, which angered them.
According to the police they two men planned to start a minor fire, but it went out of control as there were highly inflammable chemicals stored at the factory.
“There was a minor fire from a short circuit a day before, and they thought they could make this fire too look similar,” said Anil Kumar, assistant commissioner of police.
There were no casualties, but two people who felt unease were taken to hospital.
The warehouse contained raw materials including petroleum products.
More than 120 workers on the night shift managed to run to safety as the fire spread and engulfed the five-story manufacturing and storage facility built in 1998.
“We suspected that it could be sabotage. So we first started questioning five people the company fired earlier,” the police officer said.
“As there was no clue, we turned to the employees on the roll. Then one of them confessed. He seemed mentally unstable,” Kumar said.