Explosion sends shivers down neighbours' spine

The deceased have been identified as Babu alias Iqbal (55) Haleem Nagar, Salim (24) autorickshaw driver, resident of Pulikeshi Road, Syed Abdul Majid (60), C V Road. He is also the business partner of the scrap yard. While the identity of another is yet to be ascertained. The injured are-alleged child labour Wasim (12) of Rajivnagar, Nayaz (39) of Ghousianagar, Chand Pasha (25) Kesare, Tanveer(22) Sunni Chowka, Akram Pasha (30) Pulikeshi Road, Zaheer Pasha(45), Rajiv Nagar and Shahabuddin(40).

Recalling the incident, Ibrahim told Deccan Herald, one could hear the rumblings of the aluminium bottles (of the body spray, perfume and deodrant) bursting in pauses.

The impact was such that the bottles were seen flinging in the air, before landing on the adjoining road.  However, it’s not for the first time, the yard spread over 80x100 feet is witnessing fire mishap. Earlier, it had been given on rent for a used tyres godown. About two years ago, the godown caught fire mostly owing to the scorching heat. However, there were no casualties. Following the incident, it was later rented to a firewood depot, before turning into scrap godown.

Ibrahim said that the similar bottles were also being crushed on Friday and the locals nearby could witness the smoke coming out from that place.

A ‘shaadi mahal’ (Marriage hall) for economically weaker sections also stands opposite this yard. Had any function been happening in the hall, it  would have created utter chaos, said Ibrahim.

Equally fortunate are the residents around the shop, as the area is thickly populated with dwellings surrounding the place where the incident occurred. However, some of the neighbours claimed innocence when asked about the incident.

Even after two hours of the incident, they were  yet to come out of that hair raising experience. The front yard, compound and balconies were packed with people engaged in heated discussion. Curious people were seen flocking the yard  only to peek into it through the broken parts of the main gate and zinc sheets covered on one side.  Chand Pasha, one of the injured persons had been to the yard to collect the amount towards the scrap he had supplied. He had run away from the place, screaming for help, even as the back of his body had caught fire, said a cop on condition of anonymity. However, there are mixed versions about that 12-year-old boy Wasim-Whether he was employed at the shop or had gone for the day as it was holiday on account of Christmas on Saturday.

Relatives stage protest
 Tension prevailed for sometime when the relatives of the deceased led by prominent leaders of the community, staged a protest in front of the mortuary attached to Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC and RI) demanding adequate compensation.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr C J Betsurmath who visited the mortuary announced Rs 50,000 relief for the next of the kin of the deceased.

Corporator Ayub Khan stated that it was meagre when compared to Rs one lakh given to Undabatti Tank victims’ families. He demanded amount on the same lines and got Rs one lakh relief.

Though the bodies had been kept in vans after autopsy, relatives refused to take the body for final rites condemning the apathy of the district in-charge minister S A Ramdas for not visiting the mishap spot or the victims families.

Slogans
The protesters raised slogans against the authorities forcing the additional Deputy Commissioner to return in vain.

He returned after sometime and announced Rs one lakh relief as demanded by the protesters for the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the injured besides issuing the cheques towards compensation. This apart Ayub Khan also a former mayor announced to grant Rs 10,000 from MCC towards the medical expenditure of the injured.

Cause
Regional Fire Officer C Gurulingaiah asserted that the alcohol and poisonous gas content in the containers at the scrap yard could have caused friction and fire during crushing, thus leading to the explosion. Those working in the premises could have inhaled the poisonous gas and subsequently died.

It’s evident with the totally charred bodies found on the spot in as is where is condition.
On the operation, he said that th e fire station received the call around 1.55 pm and the fire tenders were dispersed to the spot in no time. However, it didn’t take much time to put down the fire.

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