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Nerul LPG blast: Seven-year-old got people to come out, but could not get out of the way in time

Residents of Panchratna building in Nerul have a young Soham Pawar to thank for saving their lives. A week ago, an LPG cylinder exploded and ripped a portion of the wall in a second-floor apartment. The broken portion of the wall crushed two residents, killing them. However, Soham was lucky enough to survive despite having come under the fallen wall.

Soham Pawar suffered brain injuries and scalp wounds after the portion of the wall fell on him
Soham Pawar suffered brain injuries and scalp wounds after the portion of the wall fell on him

Soham had suffered brain injuries due to the incident. What helped the boy survive was his quick transportation to a hospital and the timely medical attention he received. Doctors believed that had the boy not reached in time to the hospital, he could’ve died. MiD DAY visited the boy in Shushrusha Hospital, Nerul, where he was being fed by his mother Sushma. “It’s like a second life for Soham. We are homeless, but I’m thankful to God that Soham lived,” said Sushma.

Little saviour
The boy maturely handled the situation on that fateful night. “On the night of February 3, a few children who were playing downstairs knocked on our door and told me they saw a spark in one of the flats. My Soham immediately ran out and began knocking on doors of other houses, asking them to leave their homes. While we were all running out of the building, I realised my son was not with me. I asked his father to start searching for him,” recalled Sushma.

Soham had gone to the rear side of the building, where the portion of the wall fell on him. While two others, Tukaram Dighe (55) and Sangeeta Deokar (53), died, Soham’s cries for his father were heard. He was rescued from the debris and rushed to the hospital.

Soham is a Std II student at Vidya Bhavan School in Nerul. Thankfully, his exams are done with and he will not miss anything crucial at school. His mother added, “Many people from the building, who come to visit Soham, say that had it not been for his knocks on the door, they would’ve never left their flats and would have been injured in the accident.” However, his parents avoid showing him the mirror, as they are afraid that he may get disturbed on seeing himself in such a state.

Doctors say
Doctors at the hospital claim that a third casualty had been avoided by bringing Soham on time to the hospital. Dr S Tarlekar from Shushrusha Hospital said, “When he was brought to the hospital, we realised he had suffered a brain injury and his scalp, too, was injured because of it. In fact, his left hand required plastic surgery as well. Since he was brought in at the right time and there was no delay, it helped the boy immensely and he was saved despite a portion of the wall collapsing on him.”

The incident
On February 3, around 11 pm, Shalaka and Ravindra Tondwalkar, who live on the second floor of the building, replaced their empty LPG cylinder with a filled one. However, they didn’t affix the regulator valve completely and gas started leaking.

About 20-25 minutes later, when the family smelled the gas, their son Sanchit, in a mistaken bid to take precautions, flicked the main electricity supply switch to turn off the power. The spark triggered the blast, the impact of which was so powerful that a portion of their kitchen wall came off, falling on two residents standing below.

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