Rat bite causes gas leak, five injured in fire

A pesky rodent gnawing away at the pipes inside a home at Dubey Chawl, Azad Nagar, in Boisar was the reason behind a fire outbreak yesterday morning, which injured five people.

Boisar resident, Neetu Jha (31), as usual walked into her kitchen yesterday morning to make her morning cup of tea. Unaware of a gas leak, she struck a match, which gave rise to a fire that quickly engulfed the home.

Neetu was the first victim of the fire, followed by four other members of her family, who were then rushed to a nearby hospital by neighbours. "The smell of LPG was evident in the air. We even thought of informing the Jha family about the gas leak. After the fire broke out, we quickly rushed to the house to rescue them. We took the Jhas to Anand Hospital that later referred them to KEM hospital," said Pradeep Gupta, a neighbour of the Jhas.

Confirming the incident, Uttam Sonavane, senior inspector, Boisar police station, said, "Five people were injured in the fire incident. Primary investigations reveal that the gas supply pipe had been eaten into by a rat owing to which there was a gas leakage that caused the fire."

According to doctors treating the Jha family at KEM Hospital, four are suffering from critical injuries while one has sustained minor burn injuries. "We are treating all five patients. Four of them have severe burn injuries. However, the burn percentage is yet to be identified," said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

The neighbours told MiD DAY that the small one-room-kitchen apartment was the sole reason that the family was injured in the flames. "The house is so small that the gas spread quickly. The family of six live in that tiny space. However, at the  time that the fire broke out, one member of the family was out for tuitions," added a neighbour-of the Jhas.

Sunil Jha (36)
Neetu Jha (31)
Vikas Jha (30)
Preeti Jha (8)
Bitu Jha (11)

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