Five children were critically injured while their father, a woman and a teenager died, on Monday, in an apparent cylinder explosion in a house near Burma Bridge, a suburb of the capital.
Initially rescue officials and local police attributed the blast to a gas cylinder explosion inside the house as a result of which the single-storey building collapsed, trapping the inmates under the debris.
Muhammad Aslam perished in the blast, while his children identified as Shazia, 13, Faizan, 7, Faisal, 5, Abeera, 2 and Ruqayya, 1, were taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Burns’ Unit in critical condition.
Rajeev, 15, was passing by the house when the explosion occurred. Her body was identified later as it was headless, according to rescue officials. The body of the woman was not identified till the filing of this report.
The bomb disposal squad also reached the site to ascertain the cause of the deadly explosion and to search for a clue pointing towards a possible terrorist activity.
Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Bani Amin, informed the media that the investigation team was collecting evidence from the scene and information about the ill-fated inmates.
The investigation team has not ruled out the possibility of a bomb explosion, however no gunpowder was found at the site, said the IGP.
Secretariat Assistant Commissioner Nauman Yousaf said, “We searched the debris with the help of K-9 dogs, but no one else was found under the debris.”
Replying to a question Yousaf said, “It is premature to say that it was due to explosives, but investigations are underway.” Our first priority is to clear the debris, he added.
The residents of the area were skeptical about the explosion and were not willing to believe that it was accidental.
Deadliest LPG blast
This is the deadliest incident of a LPG gas cylinder explosion so far. Earlier this year, two persons were injured in multiple cylinder explosions at a re-filling shop in Sector G-11/2. Some five cylinders exploded at Hafiz Gas Point near Hamza Chowk in Mara Abadi.
To avoid such incidents, compressed gas cylinders, whether empty or full, should ideally be stored vertically in a well-ventilated area, preferably in the open with some protection against the weather, said an expert.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.
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