A woman died and 20 others suffered suffocation when a cylinder containing liquid chlorine exploded at Tirumullaivoyal in the city suburbs on Tuesday evening.

According to police sources, a load autorickshaw carrying seven cylinders from Manali to a Naval establishment in Arakkonam was crossing Manikandapuram on the Chennai-Tirupati Highway when one of the cylinders fell off the vehicle.

The knob hit the road triggering the explosion. Other cylinders were moved to safety.

B. Mariam Beevi (55) of K.K. Nagar in Tirumullaivoyal, who was returning home from a shop, got trapped in a ball of gas and fell unconscious. She died soon after admission to a nearby hospital. Twenty passers-by, including some women, complained of suffocation and were rendered treatment in different hospitals. Their condition was said to be stable. The load autorickshaw driver N. Hussain (48) of Arakkonam was accompanied by a technician Umapathy of the Navy.

The Tirumullaivoyal police have registered a case of causing death due to negligence, the sources added.

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