A school van driver died of burns hours after a compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinder exploded in his vehicle at BEE Layout, Devarachikkanahalli here on Tuesday, police said.
Ramachandra, 45, was having lunch at his house when his wife detected leakage around 4 pm.
He went into the kitchen to check whether the LPG cylinder was leaking. There was, however, no leakage there, police sources said.
The deceased went out to check out the CNG cylinder in the back of the van.
He found that the CNG cylinder was indeed leaking. He then opened the knob, put it in place again and tried to fix it, family sources explained.
For some unknown reasons, Ramachandra then darted towards the driver’s seat and tried to start the vehicle, switching on the ignition. In a flash, there was an explosion and the vehicle went up in flames, police sources added.
His neighbours then rushed to his rescue, poured water on the vehicle and pulled him out. Ramachandra had not closed the van door and one of his feet was on the ground as he switched on the ignition. Thus, he could be pulled out of the vehicle easily, police sources said.
He was then taken to Victoria Hospital and admitted to the burns ward. Doctors, however, said that the chances of his survival were slight as he had suffered more than 90 per cent burns.
He succumbed to burns in the night, police sources added.
The major mistake Ramachandra did, according to a senior police officer, was to switch on the ignition while knowing that there was certain leakage in the CNG tank.
As he switched on the ignition, the circuit would have been completed with a spark and that was enough to trigger the explosion, the officer added.
The officer further said that a major tragedy was averted as there were no schoolchildren in the van at the time of the explosion. In that case, many young lives would have been lost.
The victim had made three trips, ferrying children to and from the school. He had come home for a while before the explosion occurred.
The van, which was owned by Ramachandra, would be subjected to forensic examination to ascertain the exact cause of the gas leakage.
A case of unnatural death has been booked at the Mico Layout police station.