A Kalyan school’s Christmas party and annual day celebrations ended on a tragic note after a helium cylinder burst inside its premises, leaving one person dead and 13 injured, including five children. The helium cylinder belonged to a balloon seller, who succumbed to his injuries.
Police officials survey the spot where the incident took place at Arya Gurukul in Kalyan
The incident took place last afternoon at Kalyan’s Arya Gurukul, which was holding a ‘Khel Mela’ to celebrate Christmas and the end of a semester. The gala was attended by over 800 parents and as many children.
After the programme ended and families began to exit, the balloon seller Ram Gharat Prasad, allegedly went inside the school premises to attract customers. By 1.30 pm, many of the parents and students had already left, but some were standing near the balloon vendor. Just then, his helium cylinder suddenly exploded, said police officials of Kolsewadi police station. School authorities immediately alerted fire and police officials.
Speaking to mid-day, eyewitnesses said that the explosion was so intense, it flung Prasad from the blast site. Because of the loud explosion, several parents and children mistook it for a bomb. Chinmay Haldankar, one of the parents at the spot, said, “There was a huge ruckus after the incident, as nobody understood what had happened. People started panicking because they thought it was a bomb blast.”
However, when fire officials and police officials appeared on the spot, they explained that prima facie, it was a cylinder explosion.
Meanwhile, the injured were rushed to Metro Hospital in Kalyan and Ace Children’s Hospital in Dombivli for treatment. The balloon vendor was declared dead at the hospital.
The resident medical officer from Ace hospital, who is treating the five injured children, said all of them have suffered facial burns, and two are facing respiratory issues. “Apart from two children, Kaushal and Navin, the rest all are stable and have suffered 9% burn injuries. All of them are about four to five years old. To ensure there is no internal damage, we are also sending the children for CT scans,” said the treating doctor.
Metro Hospital, which is treating seven patients, said they had already shifted one of them to JJ Hospital, while another was moved to Fortis Hospital in Mulund. “Apart from burn injuries, two patients had suffered an eye injury as well. Their condition was slightly critical and hence we shifted them to hospitals with better facilities. Other patients are stable as of now; all of them are being treated for burn injuries,” said a Metro Hospital representative.
Police officials filed a case against the deceased balloon vendor and the school authorities under Sections 304A (death by negligence), 287 (negligent conduct), 34 (common intention) and 336, 337, 338 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IP C.
“We have booked Prasad and the school authorities for their negligence which resulted in one death and 13 injuries. The injured are being treated and we have sent Prasad’s body to Rukminibai Hospital for post-mortem,” said Sr PI KN Ghete.
Bharat Malik, who runs the school, said, “Everybody was so happy post the event, and we did not even realise when the vendor entered the school premises. Few of our teachers also sustained injuries. By God’s grace, everyone is stable. Our heartfelt condolences to the family members of the vendor, who lost a breadwinner.”