Mumbai: Couple suffers grievous burns after matchstick triggers cylinder blast

The matchstick set off a fire due to a gas leak from a cylinder in the kitchen; the blast also injured their son

When Ashok Upadhyay lit a matchstick for his daily morning pooja, little did he know that it would end up destroying his home. The matchstick set off a fire due to a gas leak from the LPG cylinder, causing a blast in Upadhyay’s Kesarbai Chawl home at Andheri early yesterday morning. Upadhyay (45) and his wife, Chinta (40) suffered more than 70 per cent burns each. Both were being treated at Cooper Hospital initially, but were shifted to the burns ward in Kasturba Hospital later in the day.

Also Read: Cylinder blast in Andheri chawl injures two

The state of the Upadhyay’s ground floor room after the blast. The blast also caused a portion of their room on the first floor to collapse, injuring their son. (Right) Ashok Upadhyay in Cooper Hospital. Pic/Rane Ashish
The state of the Upadhyay’s ground floor room after the blast. The blast also caused a portion of their room on the first floor to collapse, injuring their son

A ground plus one structure, the chawl is more than three decades old. The Upadhyays had two rooms in the chawl, one on the ground floor and the other on the first floor. While the husband and wife were in the ground floor house, the sons were sleeping upstairs.

Ashok Upadhyay in Cooper Hospital. Pic/Rane Ashish
Ashok Upadhyay in Cooper Hospital. Pics/Rane Ashish

Unexpected
“After freshening up, I started preparing for my daily pooja around 5.30 am. I struck a match to light the diya and then there was a blast. I have been living in this chawl for 30 years and never thought such a thing could happen,” said 45-year-old Ashok from his bed in Cooper Hospital. His body was covered in flames when his neighbours rescued him.

Read Story: Cooler short-circuit may have led to Dagdi Chawl fire

Meanwhile, due to the impact of the blast, a burning cupboard fell on Ashok’s wife Chinta. She was rescued by the neighbours as well. The impact also led to the collapse of a portion of the first floor ceiling, injuring their son Rahul. Rahul has received stitches on his head and toe.

Didn’t smell leakage
Surprisingly, none of the family members smelt the LPG that leaked in the room before the blast. “The cylinder was brought four or five days ago. We cooked last night’s dinner using it as well; that time there was no problem. We did not suspect any leakage,” said Chinta.

Despite suffering major burns, Chinta hopes she will recover in a week’s time. “Although their burns are 70-80 per cent, the wounds are not deep. The first two-three days are critical, but with proper medication and therapy, they can recover. Since Kasturba has a dedicated burns ward, we are moving them there,” said Dr Shadab Khan at Cooper Hospital.

Another fire in Andheri
A fire broke out on the fifth floor of the eight-storey Times Square building in Andheri (east) yesterday morning. A commercial building, it has several offices and outlets.

Pic/Rane Ashish
Pic/Rane Ashish

Around 7 am, the fire brigade got a call and four fire engines were sent to the spot. Fortunately, the building was vacant at the time of the incident. However, it took the fire brigade more than an hour to douse the flames.

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