2 dead, 3 critically injured in blast at Odisha stone quarry

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Berhampur (Odisha), Apr 19 (PTI) Two persons were killed and three others critically injured in an explosion at a crusher unit in Odisha's Ganjam district on Monday, police said.

The incident happened at Kukudakhandi village in the Berhampur Sadar police station area, they said.

The deceased have been identified as A Santosh Kumar (37) of Kukudakhandi and Suresh Kumar Patra (40) of Fadripalli, police said.

One of the injured persons was referred to AIIMS- Bhubaneswar, and the other two are undergoing treatment at the MKCG Medical College and Hospital here, they said.

Their condition is stated to be critical, police said.

The injured persons are also from Kukudakhandi and its nearby villages, they said.

It is suspected that explosive materials such as gelatin sticks and detonators stocked at a tin-roofed house for use in the stone quarry might have caused the blast, police said.

The intensity was much severe as two gas cylinders, which were inside the house, also exploded, they said.

Senior police officers, including Superintendent of Police Pinak Mishra, visited the spot.

A person has been detained in connection with the incident, police said.

'We have detained one person, the husband of the owner of the crusher unit, for interrogation,' said JK Mohapatra, the sub-divisional police officer of Berhampur Sadar.

All aspects of the crusher unit will be verified, including the sources of procuring the explosives and the purpose for stocking, police said.

The district administration has sealed the crusher unit and started an inquiry, officials said.

All the victims were in that tin-roofed house near the crusher unit when the explosion took place, police said.

While Santosh died at the spot, Suresh succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital, they said.

The explosion caused a fire, which was doused by firefighters, sources said.

The district administration sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs 20,000 and Rs 10,000 from the District Red Cross Fund to the family members of the deceased and injured persons, respectively, they said. PTI CORR AAM SOM SOM