Accident occurred when resident turned on a light unaware of gas leak; balcony collapsed onto adjacent house in impact

Four persons including a four-year-old girl died in a gas cylinder blast in Old Washermenpet in north Chennai on Thursday morning.

Police said that the accident occurred when Fazullah Khan (68), a resident of 6th street, Bhojarajan Nagar and an accountant at a private firm, turned on a light in the kitchen. A gas leak through a faulty tube resulted in an explosion and Khan died in the impact.

At the time of the accident, Khan’s wife, Khushika (60) was sleeping in the bedroom and she sustained a few burns caused by the fire. Their son, Mushtaque Mohammed, who works in a BPO, was away from the house on a night shift.

Due to the impact of the explosion, the wall of a small balcony outside the kitchen collapsed onto an adjacent asbestos-roofed house where three independent families were living. Two of the residents, Thenmozhiyan (42), a labourer, and his younger son Karthik (7) died on the spot.

Thenmozhiyam’s wife, Jothi (37), his elder son Tamilselvan (11) and his daughter Mathumita (8) were injured. A family of three — Imtiaz (30), Farida (23) and their daughter, Riyana (4) — who were living in a rented portion of the house were also injured.

The injured were admitted to the Stanley Government Hospital. Later in the day, Riyana, who sustained severe head injuries, succumbed at the hospital. “The incident occurred around 5.30 a.m. and due to the impact, many glass windows of adjacent houses broke,” said Old Washermenpet’s police inspector, R. Chitibabu.

Fire tenders from Mint and Old Washermenpet rushed to the spot and put off the blaze.

As the locality is congested, with many big old houses divided into portions let out on rent, the impact of the blast was felt by many neighbours.

At the time of the accident, the cylinder was full resulting in heavy leakage of gas from the faulty tube.

Thursday's accident is the fifth such in less than four months in north Chennai alone. On September 12, an LPG cylinder technician and three others of a family in Thirumangalam died, and a boy suffered burn injuries, in a fire following a gas leak. Two days later, a septuagenarian and two youngsters were injured in an apartment in Porur in a similar accident. The old woman and one of the youths died later.

Keywords: LPG explosion

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