7 buried alive as building collapses in Ejipura

LPG cylinder blast blamed for two-storeyed structure's crash

7 buried alive as building collapses in Ejipura
Seven people, including a pregnant woman, were buried alive when a two-storeyed building came crashing down at Gundappa Layout in Ejipura on Monday.

An LPG cylinder explosion is suspected to have caused the collapse.

Police have identified those dead as Ravichandra (46), Kalavathi (68), Malashree (28), Prasad (18), Pawan Kalyan (19), Ashwini (22) and Saravana (30).

Seven others were injured: Chitra (42), Priya (12), Janaki (31), Asokan (5), Dilip (18), Asha (21) and Sanjana (3).

The building is located on 9th Cross, Gundappa Layout. The injured are being treated at Bowring Hospital, St John’s Hospital, Victoria Hospital and St Philomena’s Hospital. Janaki has suffered 30% burn injuries and Sanjana 60%. They are said to be critical.

Ashwini, among those buried alive, was eight months pregnant. Her husband Saravana also died in the collapse. Their daughter Sanjana was rescued from amid the debris.

S Gunesh owned the property. The building was about 50 years old. It was not maintained properly, police said. The ground floor had three houses, and the first floor two. Chitra, her husband Asokan, Dilip, Priya and Prasad were living on the first floor. Kalavathi, Pawan Kalyan and Malashree lived on the ground floor. Some of the victims worked as assistants at private offices, while others were homemakers, police said.

The National Disaster Response Force, civil defence and fire and emergency staff rushed to the spot.
The retrieval operation lasted about seven hours. It was 2 pm when Saravana’s body was retrieved. After the postmortem, the bodies were handed over to the family members. 

Rain a factor?

Preliminary investigation suggests an LGP gas explosion resulted in the incident, Chandragupta, deputy commissioner of police (central), said.

“The building had become weak because of heavy rain. Forensic Science Laboratory experts are examining the debris. It will take us some time to ascertain the exact cause,” he told reporters.

Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy and City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar visited the spot.

A bomb squad inspected the site and found some firecrackers.

Landlord in dock

Police have booked building owner S Gunesh for negligence.

Rs 5 lakh relief

The government announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of each of those dead, and Rs 50,000 for each of those injured.

It also announced it would fund the education of Sanjana (3), who lost her parents in the incident.

The child is now in Victoria Hospital with 60% burns.

Blast at 6.45 am

A huge explosion was heard at 6.45 am before the building came crashing down.

“We rushed outside and only saw the debris,” Gopal, a resident of Ejipura, told DH.

A large number of people gathered and began helping the survivors out.

The crowd had cleared some of the debris before the police arrived.
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