Cylinder blast, fire in Hyderabad leave two children dead, 48 people injured

Published May 31, 2024
Scenes of a fire at a cylinder shop in Hyderabad on May 30. — Umair Ali
Scenes of a fire at a cylinder shop in Hyderabad on May 30. — Umair Ali

HYDERABAD: Two young children died and early 50 other persons, most of them children, received burn injuries in a cylinder blast that triggered a big fire in a densely populated locality of Paretabad within the jurisdiction of the Pinhyari police station on Thursday evening.

The cylinder exploded in an LPG filling shop.

Many of the victims had sustained a high percentage of burns and had to be shifted to Karachi after being provided emergency treatment at the Liaquat University Hospital (LUH).

Soon after the incident, all the victims were rushed to the LUH. Some 18-22 injured persons with 80pc to 90pc burns were referred to a major hospital in Karachi.

Several victims sustain up to 90pc burns

The sound of the blast was heard far and wide in the area and people came out of their homes in panic to figure out what had caused the explosion. Shopkeepers and other residents of the area who were present in the neighbourhood rushed to the site. They appeared angry over late arrival of firefighters and the delayed operation to extinguish the fire.

“Those who are shifted to Karachi had around 90pc burn wounds according to initial assessment at the LUH burns ward,” said Dr Aftab Phull, the hospital’s administration officer. He said that the rest were admitted and shifted either to the paediatric or adult ICUs and burns ward. He added that three patients were under treatment in the paediatric ICU and some others in the adult ICU.

Dr Phull said he initially feared the number of victim could be no fewer than 75-80 but around 50 were brought to the hospital.

The children who succumbed to their injuries were identified as Bilal, 15 and Raheem, 5/7, 1122 officials said late in the evening.

Those who were shifted to Karachi, according to LUH record, are Ayan, 8, son of Javed, Azam, 7, son of Rais, Bilal, 11, son of Asif, Azam, 9, son of Shakir, Hasnain, 7, son of Rasheed, Ali Raza, 2, son of Bilal, Abdul Hadi, 14, son of Asghar, Zulfiqar, son of Mohammad Umer, Akram Shah, 38, son of Qurban Shah, Raeesudin, 35, son of Alamuddin, Ali, son of Zeeshan, Akram, 50, son of Waseem, Abbas, Dodo 25, and Faizan, 40, son of Ishaq.

The injured who were who were brought to the LUH were Yasmeen, Jameel, Mohammad Saleh, Parveen Hameed, Mohammad Hussain, 50, son of Ameeruddin, Fazeelat, 10, daughter of Imran, Zarin Noor, 9, daughter of Imran, Ashraf, 45, son of Mohammad Hussain, Umair, 14, son of Arshad, Waris, son of Bilal, Mahnoor, daughter of Habib, and Alia, daughter of Farooq.

The blast took place in the LPG cylinder filling shop located on the ground floor of Zacha Bacha Hospital area along Mir Nabi Bux Town Road in UC-8 of Neerunkot town.

Rescue 1122 teams and firefighters arrived at the site first and they were followed by ambulances that transported the injured to the LUH. Firefighters brought the blaze under control within a couple of hours.

The building where the shop is located is owned by Babuddin Qureshi, who is also said to have been injured. The LPG shop is operated by Akram Arain, who is also said to be among the injured.

Locals told Dawn that after the incident, members of Babuddin’s family residing in an upper storey of the building were taken out of the building and shifted to some alternative place in view of the damage caused to the building’s structure.

However, a Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) assistant director, Saim Sheikh, told Dawn that the upper storey portion was apparently safe. The temperature in the shop’s structure is quite high so an assessment about its stability could not be made at this point of time, according to him.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed in the LUH casualty and burns departments as soon as the victims started arriving there in ambulances. “We are unable to figure out initially as to how to handle the situation due to so much chaos,” said Dr Phull.

A cable operator of area, Sarwar Qazi, said that Babuddin is a gurr trader whereas a seminary is also functioning in his building. “When the blast took place, children were either leaving or entering the seminary,” said Israr Ali, a motorbike mechanic from the same locality. Witnesses said many other children were playing on the road as well when a fireball engulfed them in the wake of the blast. “One person was hit by a small cylinder that flew into the air due the impact of the blast,” said a witness.

A vehicle was also gutted in the fire.

Hyderabad Deputy Commissioner Zain Memon and SSP Dr Farrukh Ali were among the officials who visited the blast site. A huge crowd had gathered in the locality hindering firefighting and rescue work. The fire brigade staff had to intermittently throw water on people to keep them away from the site.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2024

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