NEW DELHI - A blast at a steel plant in the Indian central state of Chhattisgarh has killed nine people and injured 14, the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the largest steel-making company in India, said on Tuesday.

"In an unfortunate incident at around 10.30 am, today in SAIL Bhilai Steel Plant, there was a fire in gas pipe line of Coke Oven Battery Complex No 11 during a scheduled maintenance job … So far, 9 persons have lost their lives and 14 are undergoing medical treatment," SAIL, which operates the plant, said in a statement.

According to the statement, the emergency services have managed to put the fire under control, with all resources mobilized to provide assistance to those injured. Local media reported that some employees of the plant may still be trapped as a result of explosion, while the search and rescue operation continues. Local TV channels reported that police and rescue teams are still looking for survivors at the blast site.

A probe has been ordered into the blast, another official said. "It seemed to be an accidental blast, not any sabotage, prima facie. Anyway, we will wait for the probe report," he added.

This is not the first time that explosion has hit the Bhilai Steel Plant. Six workers lost their lives in an explosion in the plant four years ago.