In a freak accident, one person lost his life and two others sustained minor injuries after CNG cylinders of a vehicle exploded at Bharat Coaltar CNG station of Mahanagar Gas Limited near Kama Industrial Road in Goregaon (E) yesterday morning.
The incident cast a shadow of fear on those residing near the gas station. The blast occurred after a station employee refilled the cylinder of a water tanker.
This explosion set in motion a chain reaction in which four more cylinders, out of the total eight, exploded. A steel plate fitted on the cylinder rack revealed their maintenance was due on 2008.
Confirming the mishap, an MGL spokesperson said, “The incident occurred at 7.30 am and the company’s emergency team was dispatched to the spot immediately. CNG supply to the refilling centre has been stopped completely.”
The intensity of the blast was such that a portion of an exploded cylinder hit 18-year-old Rakesh Saroj who was standing at a tea stall that was 100 metres away from the spot.
He had recently come to the city to spend Diwali with his father and had ventured out with him for a stroll after finishing breakfast.
Rakesh’s father Sada said, “While he was standing near the tea stall, we heard a loud explosion. To check what had happened, he left the tea stall and that’s when a piece of the cylinder hit him on the head. He immediately threw up blood. We rushed him to the hospital, but he breathed his last around 10.30 am.”
The injured were identified as tanker driver Bhushan Ram (45), and Rameshchandra Joshi, who was serving tea to the gas station employees.
Joshi said, “I had gone there just like every other day, but after I realised that a blast had occurred, I ran towards the toilet for cover. The impact of the explosion was such that the toilet walls crumbled and I got trapped underneath the rubble. Thankfully, a few locals rushed to my rescue.”
A police officer, who was present at the spot, said, “The cylinders hadn’t been checked since 2003. As per guidelines, all vehicle owners using CNG gas are supposed to get their kits tested every five years. Investigation is on and action will be taken once the report is out.”