Kollam: A tanker carrying 19 tons of LPG collided with a car and exploded, killing one person, injuring 20 others, 4 of them seriously and the leaping flames engulfed a row of shops and houses at Puthantheruvu near here today. Most of the injured were either policemen or the local people helping with the efforts to douse the fire. The fire has been completely extinguished, officials said.
Rashid, 32, hailing from Karunagapally, succumbed to his injuries.
The tanker lorry on its way to Paripally from Mangalore hit a speeding car at around 3 in the morning and overturned. The lorry was proceeding to the Paripally filling station when it collided with a car going towards Ochira from Thiruvananthapuram airport.
There was leak of cooking fuel. The police jeep which arrived on the scene after half-an-hour parked its vehicle around 200 metres away from the tanker. It is learnt that when the police started the jeep the spark from the engine ignited a blaze and the tanker exploded with a loud bang.
As many as 21 persons suffered burn injuries and four are supposed to be in a critical condition. Among the injured, 9 were rushed to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital and 3 to the KIMS Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram. A constable attached to the Chavara police station Pradeep Kumar is serious. Pradeep Kumar was injured when trying to undertake rescue operations. The 3 admitted to KIMS are also stated to becritical and have sufferred 100 percent burns.
Three persons who were travelling in the car were also injured and rushed to the Alapuzha Medical College Hospital. They are reported to be stable. The other injured persons have been admitted to the Kollam Medical College Hospital and Karunagappally Taluk Hospital.
Those in the police jeep bore the brunt of the tragedy. Chavara SI Shukoor, ASI K C Philip, constable from the AR camp Alexander Luke and policemen Sameer, Vinod and C P Jose were all injured in the blaze.
The fire engulfed a row of shops and a few houses. A police jeep and 10 motorcycles parked in the area were also gutted.
Hospitals were packed with writhing burn victims. Some had sheets of skin peeling off their backs.
Fireforce personnel after battling most of the blaze extinguished it completely only after the fuel in the lorry had been burnt. Around 20 fire engines were working on the scene and trying to bring the situation under control. As a precautionary measure, people living in the proximity of the mishap site were evacuated and residents asked to switch off gas supply in their homes. Schools in and around Karunagapally declared a holiday today.
Traffic on the busy National Highway passing through the area has been held up and train traffic between Kollam and
Kayankulam has also been stopped, they said.
The services of fire force personnel from Kollam and nearby districts have been requisitioned to fight the blaze.