I first met Derek Walcott, who died on March 20, in the late 1960s when we both worked as reporters at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Evening News in my native Trinidad.
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Worker killed in explosion days before 50th birthday
Doodnath Bhimull, 49, suffered a horrific death when a hot oil blower from a bitumen plant exploded in his face yesterday afternoon. Bhimull, who would have celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday, suffered burns on 100 per cent of his body. He died shortly after 5pm.
Police said Bhimull was conducting an electrical test on the plant at Mora Dam Road in Siparia when the blower heated up from an electrical surge. It exploded, pitching burning debris as far as 20 feet away. The blower feeds fuel into the Bitumen tank which heats up to 300 degrees celsius. When the police arrived, they saw smoke coming from the tank.
They said when the blower exploded, it threw Bhimull against another tank and he rolled down a hill on the compound where he died immediately Eyewitness Ramrattan Basdeo who was working close by said he saw Bhimull engulfed in flames. “It was shocking...I am lucky to be alive,” Basdeo said as he gazed at the remains of his colleague.
Basdeo said when he saw what was happening he jumped onto a backhoe and began dumping dirt onto the flames in an attempt to stop the fire. He managed to bring the fire under control. Bhimull’s wife Seeta arrived a short while later and began screaming. She said Bhimull left his Debe home at 10.30 am yesterday to for work.
“My husband was the most loving person in my life. We have three children and we were planning to celebrate his birthday,” said Seeta. Seeta wept as she explained that her husband had promised to take her to the grocery when he returned home.
Project manager of the company Baiju Ramoutar said the bitumen plant was purchased in an auction two months ago. He denied that there were any electrical shortages at the plant. Ramoutar said the 10,000 gallon tank was empty at the time of the explosion.
“He was wiring up the cables and checking to see that all the motors from the plant were running. They did a test yesterday and he came back today to verify that everything was in order,” Ramoutar said. Supt Franklyn Sampat and PC Kishore Maharaj and are continuing investigations.