LAHORE: A massive fire followed by a huge blast at a Shahdara petrol pump, minutes after leakage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from an overturned tanker, left a man dead and 10 others injured, including a traffic warden, here on Wednesday.
Of the injured persons, the condition of six was said to be critical as they suffered over 60 per cent burns.
Syed Zahid Abbas (65), who died of serious burns at a hospital, was father of a traffic warden, Yasir Ali. As per his family, he was going to a bank to collect his pension when the blast occurred.
According to police and witnesses, the LPG tanker overturned at Shahdara Morr near a petrol pump, resulting in a massive gas leakage from its tank.
Of 10 injured, six said to be critical
As the leaking gas accumulated in a huge quantity at the petrol pump, which was also selling CNG, a fire erupted there, the eyewitnesses said. Minutes later, they said they heard a huge blast.
They said the impact of the blast was so intense that 200 vehicles were burnt. They included four buses, six coasters, nine cars, 15 rickshaws, 80 motorcycles rickshaws, three trucks and 70 bikes. Windowpanes of nearby buildings, including residences, shattered. The walls of a mosque collapsed because of the blast, the witnesses added.
Following the blast, they said, clouds of dense black smoke billowing from the petrol pump could be seen from a distance, besides flames of the raging fire.
They said the massive explosion along with the blazing fire caused panic in the vicinity, forcing locals, including women and children, to leave their houses.
Rescue 1122 staff reached the spot after considerable delay, despite being informed of the incident immediately, locals said.
Shortly after the blast, nearly a dozen people were seen with serious burns, while some of them fell unconscious.
Footage of the incident uploaded on the social medial showed people crying for help with no 1122 rescuer in sight.
After the blast, locals started rescue work by making efforts to put off the fire and shifted some of the injured persons to various hospitals.
A duty doctor at the Mayo Hospital Lahore said 10 injured people were brought to the emergency unit of the facility following the incident. Of them, he said, two suffered 100 per cent burns, one 90pc, another 78pc, while three others had 55 to 65pc burns.
He said two more persons were brought with head and neck injuries, adding that most of them were in a critical condition.
Later, nearly a dozen fire-engines and special vehicles, along with firefighters, reached the spot and launched fire extinguish efforts.
A Rescue 1122 official said casualties remained low as the area was wearing a deserted look because of the lockdown announced by the government to check spread of coronavirus, otherwise it could have been much disastrous as Shahdara Morr was one of the busiest intersections of the city during normal days.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020