Girl killed, 10 injured in suspected LPG blasts

Explosions in Bangalore building cause four houses to collapse

Girl killed, 10 injured in suspected LPG blasts

The damage was so severe that the rescue operations by over a hundred fire and emergency department personnel and 80 policemen took more than four hours.

Of the injured, seven— Raghavendra, Murthy,
Govindaraju, Nagesh, Kantaraju and Rangaswamy—are firemen, while Sharadamma, Ramanjaneya and Veerappa were tenants living in the houses that were damaged severely by the blasts.

Officers of the Fire and Emergency Department, who received the first alert at 1:36 pm, suspect that the blast was triggered by a cylinder burst, but are looking at other possible causes too, as a sari dyeing factory using inflammable chemicals was operating from the first floor of the collapsed building, next to a marriage hall, Lakshmi Venkateshwara Kalyana Mantapa that was not occupied at the time of the blast.

“We received a call saying there has been a gas leak and that it was an emergency. There are strong reasons to believe that the cylinder burst caused the fire and the collapse. However, we are still investigating,” an officer said on Wednesday. A seven-member team from the forensic science laboratory (FSL) also inspected the spot to identify the cause of the blast.

It was reported that the empty marriage hall had about 10 cylinders in the basement (kitchen) but it was not clear if either of the blasts occurred in the marriage hall or in the house of Sharadhamma, who had complained of the gas leak.

The blast, reported to have occurred at 1:30 pm, also sparked off a fire that saw a part of the three-storey building attached to the marriage hall fall on three houses located close to the hall.

After receiving the alert at 1:36 pm, the Fire Department rushed fire engines from Peenya and Rajajinagar stations. And the seven firemen who sustained injuries were from the Peenya station who reached the spot first by 1:41 pm.

Srinivasa, an eyewitness, said: “Sharadamma’s house was on fire when the first rescue team arrived and they immediately rushed inside. But as soon as they went in, the three-storied building came crashing down on her house, trapping them.” Sharadamma, however was pulled out by a neighbour and her nephew Narasimhamurthy, who rushed her to Victoria Hospital. “She has sustained serious head injuries in her head but she is out of danger,” he said.

The Rajajinagar Fire Station team, which had arrived minutes after six of their colleagues from Peenya were trapped, began the rescue operations that continued for the next four hours. By 3:38 pm, the last of the survivors was rescued.

The department also roped in the services of Yeshwanthpur Fire Station. In the house adjacent to Sharadhamma’s, Kavita collapsed at the door while trying to rush out before the house collapsed, making it impossible to rescue her. Her mangled body was recovered af­ter four hours of effort even as her uncle Gangadhar, his wife four-year-old cousin Chinmayi managed to get out of the house.

While four houses collapsed, three to four houses were partially damaged due to the flying debris. Frightened residents in the vicinity scampered to safer locations, but their curiosity pr­e­vented them from leaving, giving the policemen a hard time.

Most of the damage was caused because the building, constructed by violating laws, collapsed. “If the building had not collapsed on the firemen who reached the spot first, the fire could have been doused much earlier,” a fire officer said.

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