A 62-year-old woman and her 38-year-old daughter died and a man sustained severe injuries after a fire broke out following a cylinder blast inside a house in North East Delhi’s Karawal Nagar Tuesday. Police said the 38-year-old woman’s two teenaged boys, who were outside, watched the house get engulfed in fire.
The victims were rushed to GTB Hospital, where the women, Rambiri and her daughter Hemlata, were declared dead on arrival by doctors. The man, Rajesh (42), is undergoing treatment. Police said he was at the house to fix the gas cylinder and was known to Hemlata, as the two worked at a garment factory.
While fire officials claimed the blast took place when the victims were trying to refill two small gas cylinders from a big one, DCP (North East) Ved Prakash Surya said the man was fixing the cylinder and a leakage led to the blast.
“When gas is being transferred from one cylinder to another, usually there is leakage as no proper instruments are used nor any precautions taken,” said Delhi Fire Chief Atul Garg.
He said that after the cooling operation began, firefighters realised that two small cylinders burst, while the big cylinder was intact. “It could have been worse had the big one burst too,” said Garg.
Two fire tenders were dispatched when a fire call was made around 10.45 am. “We were told that three people were inside the house... there was a lot of smoke and firefighters managed to get the man out. He was rushed to a hospital. There was a possibility that more blasts could happen as we didn’t know how many cylinders were inside. There was a lot of smoke as well which made rescue challenging,” said Garg.
The fire chief said the blaze was contained by noon, after which firefighters went inside and found the women’s charred bodies.
Neighbours said Hemlata’s mother was too old to work, and her two sons are in school. Her husband passed away a few years ago and Hemlata had been the sole breadwinner. Mahesh, a neighbour, said, “The women were doing puja at home and had lit a diya... minutes after that, the blast took place.”