A tanker belonging to Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., containing 18 tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), veered off National Highway 17 and overturned near Nanthoor late on Tuesday.
Personnel of the Fire and Emergency Services Department reached the spot and averted what could have been a major disaster.
According to the police, the tanker driver was forced to veer off the road to avoid colliding with a car that was being driven rashly.
The tanker developed a leak. However, fire tenders, which reached the spot within minutes, plugged the leak. The tanker driver sustained minor injuries.
Chief Fire Officer of the district H.S. Varadarajan told The Hindu that the fire control room received the message at 11.50 p.m.
The Mangalore Electricity Supply Company shut down power supply to the nearby areas of Maroli, Bikarnakatta, Kankanady and Kadri around the same time, he said.
“The leak was crudely plugged using a wooden stick,” Mr. Varadarajan said. The firemen then waited for experts from HPCL to arrive and plug the leak.
Taking exception to the HPCL officials' response, he said that they reached the spot only at 3 a.m. Range Fire Officer Basavanna said that the firemen were helplessly standing around for over four hours.
“It was like waiting with a time bomb,” he said. “We called the HPCL authorities several times but they did not respond. Finally, the district police had to summon them to the spot,” he said.
Quoting from the official logbook, Mr. Varadarajan said that the transfer of the LPG or decanting into another tanker started only at 4.30 a.m.
Mr. Varadarajan said of all inflammable gases, LPG is the most dangerous.
Efforts to contact the HPCL authorities failed.