Eighteen persons, including three fire service personnel, were injured when a tanker, loaded with nearly 12,000 litres of petrol, exploded in Medipally village on Friday. The condition of two persons is critical, the police said.
The huge explosion resulted in a major blaze and thick smoke in the area.
Fire and Rescue Service and police personnel rushed to the spot to secure the area and check the spread of fire.
The incident, reportedly, was sequel to an attempt to pilfer petrol from the tanker, after it had been shifted to an open plot near the Chengicherla crossroads.
Police said the explosion took place around 2 p.m. when some people allegedly involved in illegal diversion of petrol were closing the seal of the tanker by wielding it after transferring petrol into small drums.
“The lorry tanker belongs to a private petroleum company and it was diverted from a nearby refilling plant,” said Ch. R.Umamaheswara Sarma, DCP, Malkajgiri.
He said Raju, owner of the plot and king-pin behind the explosion, and driver and cleaner of the lorry tanker were absconding.
Mr. Sarma said all those who sustained injured were passers-by and they were rushed to Gandhi hospital for treatment.
Police said Venkatesh Govind Naik, a TSRTC employee, and Gopala Chary, a resident of Chengicherla, suffered 85% and 40% burns respectively and their condition was said to be critical.
According to the police, five motorcycles of the passers-by were burnt in the accident and power supply to the entire area was switched off as a safety measure.
They said flames caused by the explosion rose up to 30 metres and several people took diversion due to the accident. “Under the impact of the explosion, another empty tanker also caught fire and went up in flames as a result of which three fire service personnel suffered injuries,” Mr Sarma said.