LAHORE: Two persons were critically injured and five shops and 10 vehicles reduced to ashes when several liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders exploded one after another at Garden Town’s Barkat Market on Tuesday.
The incident took place at four LPG refilling shops located in the rear of the market famous for food outlets. The blasts and flames created panic in the area as most traders and residents came out of their shops and houses amid apprehension of terrorism in the city.
Fortunately, no loss of life had been reported, police and Rescue 1122 officials told reporters.
The mobile phone footages went viral on social media showing multiple blasts causing huge flames ripping through the shops. A footage was filmed by a resident from rooftop of his house and it showed blasts in the market and people running for shelter.
Panic-stricken people also found five shops, 10 vehicles damaged
Police and rescuers said five shops and 10 vehicles were damaged in the incident which resulted in critical burn injuries to two persons who were later shifted to hospital in a life-threatening condition.
An eyewitness said some people had been running ‘illegal gas refilling stations’ at the most busiest market of the city after greasing the palms of the district government authorities. He said the incident occurred when a shop owner was refilling an LPG cylinder and he noticed gas leakage but in a moment, it caught fire as a result of which the shop owner was critically burnt.
Meanwhile, some customers present there came out of the shop and the owners of other shops and customers also ran helter-skelter when the fire intensified. A few moments later, they heard the deafening noise of a cylinder blast which left another person injured.
The eyewitness said the shopkeepers were refilling LPG cylinders through connecting pipes with pressure controller. More cylinders caught fire and exploded, he said, adding that five shops and vehicles, mostly cars, parked outside were damaged.
Area people complained that the illegal decanting had been going on unabated at the cost of public safety.
More than 10 special vehicles rushed to the site to take part in the operation, a spokesperson for the Rescue 1122 said, adding that they controlled the blaze after hectic efforts of two hours or so.
The district government has launched an inquiry into the incident to fix responsibility for running illegal business of LPG cylinders.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2021