At least 13 persons, including seven minors and four women, were killed and 15 seriously injured after an LPG cylinder exploded following which the two-storey building, which was in a dilapidated condition, collapsed in Mohammadbad police station area of Mau district Monday, police said.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was called and rescue operations were in progress till late evening on Monday. According to local residents, two other houses in the neighbourhood were also damaged by the impact of the blast. Officials suspect that while a few persons were killed in the blast, others died after being trapped under the debris of the collapsed building.
The deceased were identified as Imtiyaz (22), Jeeshan (16), his brother Yasir (10), Simpi (19), her sister Sarika (22), Sujeet (8), his mother Sunita (30), Shivam (10), Surendra (48) and his daughter Nidhi (8), Murati (45) and her sons Abhishek (10) and Anshu (15).
The house belonged to one ‘Chhotu’ Vishwakarma and women in the house were preparing breakfast when the blast took place. According to local residents, there was a woman and her five daughters in the kitchen when the blast took place.
District administration officials 10 of the injured were taken to Azamgarh district hospital while four others were referred to BHU, Varanasi.
“Around 7:15 am, we were informed that several persons died in a house due to gas cylinder blast in Walidpur area. All officials concerned, including Mohammadabad station house officer (SHO) and the circle officer (CO) along with me and the District Magistrate (DM), reached the spot to start rescue operations. As of now, 13 persons have died and those injured are undergoing treatment,” read a statement released by Mau SP Anurag Arya.
“Local residents told us that the blast took place following leakage in a gas cylinder when breakfast was being prepared in the house. The house collapsed following the impact of the blast and several persons died after they were trapped under the debris. Two adjacent houses were also damaged. Police force has been deployed in the area and the law and order situation is under control,” he added.
NDRF and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams from Gorakhpur along with rescue teams and field units reached the spot and rescue operations are in progress.
“The blast was so intense… I cannot forget the scene after that. Within minutes of the blast, the whole house collapsed. Several local residents who were having tea in an adjacent restaurant heard the noise and rushed inside the structure. It collapsed soon after and several of them were trapped under the debris,” said a villager. Local residents alleged unavailability of enough ambulances and timely treatment for the injured.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the DM and the SP to visit the spot and provide all possible relief and medical help to those injured. Earlier in the day UP minister Anil Rajbhar also visited the spot.