Fire at Indian chemical factory kills 18

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At least 18 workers and employees have died after a fire erupted at a chemicals factory in India's western state of Maharashtra, police say.

The fire broke out at the sanitiser-manufacturing unit of the factory in the Pune district on Monday afternoon.

Attempts continued until late on Monday night to locate others trapped inside the building.

"We have recovered 18 bodies so far. Operations will continue to determine if there are more people trapped inside the building," police constable A Bhuwite said from the scene by phone.

He added that 20 more people were rescued by fire services and police teams, of which four had sustained injuries.

Huge plumes of smoke and flames were seen emanating from the building, causing panic among people in the area.

The blaze was contained after fire-engines battled it for several hours.

It was not clear what caused the blaze and state authorities were likely to order a probe, officials said.

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