A blast followed by loud shrieks pierced the morning quiet on 24 Street, Muthamizh Nagar, in Kodungaiyur, on Tuesday.

Residents woke up to the perils of leaving on the gas regulator when the explosion due to LPG leak through a faulty tube, resulted in the death of a 32-year-old housewife. Her husband and two children suffered severe burns and are now battling for life in hospital.

The accident took place at the residence of Kathiresan (37), an employee at a TASMAC outlet. His wife Latha and their children Vignesh (12) and Vinod (8) were asleep in their one-bedroom house on the ground floor, when Kathiresan reached home around 6.30 a.m. after night duty.

“Latha opened the door for Kathiresan and then went into the kitchen. Unmindful of the gas leak, Kathiresan turned on a light switch which resulted in a blast,” said an investigating officer at Kodungaiyur police station.

Latha was thrown out of the kitchen, through a cement grille, and she landed on the road, ten feet away. Kathiresan, Vignesh and Vinod suffered severe burns as the house was on fire.

Soon, residents rushed in and took the four injured members to Government Kilpauk hospital. Latha succumbed to her burns around 9.30 a.m. Her husband and sons are undergoing treatment for 60 per cent burns, the officer said.

According to some neighbours, Latha’s landlady Devi, who resides on the first floor, had alerted her of heavy odour of LPG emanating from the house, minutes before the blast. Latha was half asleep, by when, her husband reached home and switched on a light.

The cylinder was full as Latha had started using it just two days ago, resulting in heavy leakage of gas from the faulty tube. “If she had closed the regulator of the cylinder, this accident could have been prevented,” the officer said.

Third such incident this month

This is the third such accident in the month of September. 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. The three accidents, so far, have claimed the life of seven persons and injured five, including three children.

(With inputs from Vivek Narayanan)

More In: Chennai