The LPG cylinder blast at an illegal filling centre in Virar (West) has now claimed five lives. While four died on the spot, another of the victims, Ghanshyam Gupta, died at KEM hospital on Saturday while undergoing treatment. Sixteen other people sustained injuries in the incident.
The blast took place at around 8.30 pm on Tuesday at the Ekvira building, when LPG was being illegally transferred from a commercial cylinder into smaller ones. One of the four victims killed on the spot was Dilip Jain, owner of the godown where the explosion occurred.
Dilip used to sell LPG illegally to auto-rickshaw drivers in Virar. According to local residents, the business of illegal transfer of LPG into small cylinders has been rampant for several years now.
Few of the locals claim to have requested the shop owner to discontinue this business fearing an accident. The three other victims who died on the spot have been identified as Manjunath (28) Manju (30) and Govind (30), all of whom were waiters at an adjoining restaurant. They were serving customers when the cylinder exploded. Due to the impact of the blast the wall separating the restaurant and the godown blew out killing the three men.
Many passers-by were injured, and were rushed to Sanjeevani hospital in Virar. Three of them were in a critical condition. While two of them who have sustained 20-30 per cent burns were transferred to Kasturbha hospital on Wednesday, the third critically injured victim with 65 per cent burns who was being treated at KEM hospital succumbed on Saturday.
Ghanshyam Gupta (35) was an auto-rickshaw driver. When this correspondent spoke to him on Thursday before his death, he had expressed relief over his survival: “I went to drink water at Shreya Hotel when suddenly there was a huge explosion. Flames from the adjacent shop engulfed me within seconds. I am happy to be alive or else my wife and four kids would have been helpless.”
A doctor at the hospital said, “Ghanshyam had suffered superficial to deep burns all over his body. He suffered most burns on his back, while his face, torso and limbs were also burnt.”
Malti Gupta, Ghanshyam’s grieving wife, said, “We have been married for four years and we have four children. Who will take care of our children now?” Ghanshyam was the only earning member of the family.
One of the victims who sustained 20-30 per cent burns is Ranjan Sharma (30), who works at a shop adjacent to the godown. Ranjan had started working in the shop barely a month ago, said his relative.
Kusum Sharma, Ranjan’s mother-in-law said, “My son-in-law has suffered burns on his face, torso and hands. He is conscious but is not able to speak properly because his lips were burnt in the explosion.”
The other patient under treatment at Kasturbha Hospital has been identified as Jeetendra Kumar. Dr Umesh Aigal, chief medical superintendent, Kasturbha Hospital said, “At present, both patients are in a stable condition.”
SC Sharma, CEO of Sanjeevani Hospital said, “The victims who sustained minor injuries and bruises were given treatment at our hospital and gradually discharged. Three victims with severe burns were given first-aid and immediately sent to KEM Hospital on Tuesday night.”