Man dies as building crumbles in LPG cylinder explosion

Man dies as building crumbles in LPG cylinder explosion

A two-storey building whose ground floor was used as an LPG cylinder distribution agency collapsed in Southeast Bengaluru's Kadugodi on Sunday morning, killing a 25-year-old man and wounding his wife, three-year-old son and another colleague. 

The building, located at Bapuji Circle, crumbled like a pack of cards as gas leaking from cylinders triggered an explosion around 11 am, police said. 

Local residents rushed to rescue people trapped in the rubble. They also called the police and the fire force. 

Kadugodi police, fire and emergency services and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel rushed to the spot and succeeded in rescuing four people by deploying earthmovers. Syed Afzal (25), one of the four victims, later succumbed to his injuries in a hospital. His wife Sultana, son Syed Zain (3) and another man, Saleem, from West Bengal, are undergoing treatment.

The building's owner, one Khalid Khan, and his partner Parvez were running the cylinder distribution agency for the past few years. They had employed Afzal and Saleem for sales and service. Afzal's family was living on the first floor. The structure was very old and had been built with substandard material, according to a senior police officer.

Subheesh K S, Assistant Commandant, NDRF, said they found at least 60 cylinders in the rubble of the shop. Some had been damaged and started to leak. "We placed air ventilators to reduce the impact of the leaking gas and then started clearing the rubble. We used sniffer dogs to search for those trapped inside. All the victims were rescued by 4.30 pm. The operation was called off around 5 pm after we confirmed that nobody else was trapped." 

The jurisdictional Kadugodi police have booked Parvez and Khan under IPC sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and under various sections of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of Supply and Regulation) Act. The duo is on the run.

An investigation is under way to ascertain the exact cause of the fire.