BENGALURU: Just like on any other Thursday morning, dwellers of a mid-level apartment complex were getting ready to leave for work around 9.30am, when a sudden blast, accompanied by a gush of fire and smoke, sent them into a tizzy.
The blast occurred on the third floor of Janapriya apartments on Magadi Road. Luckily, no casualties were reported, except for a few who sustained minor injuries, with glass shards flying around. It was suspected to be a chemical cylinder blast.
“I was getting ready to leave home, when I saw the door of my neighbour’s home fly in the opposite direction. I then saw flames and smoke. When the blast occurred, the earth below my feet shook and there was a feeling of an electric current in the whole complex.
“It gave like an earthquake, accompanied by a massive transformer blast. It took me a while to realise what had happened,” said Bhavana N, a resident of the complex. “I asked my family members to rush down. When I saw other neighbours rush out at the same time, I understood that it was something else. I then saw Vishwanath, in whose house the blast had occurred, trying to rush through us. After the smoke cleared, we saw the main door of the house had broken from its hinges and the force had damaged the main door of the opposite house. Glass panes had shattered and fallen far and wide.”
Vishwanath’s wife had left home early for office, and their children for college.Even before the Fire and Emergency Services team rushed to the spot, neighbours had doused the flames and ascertained that no one was injured. Soon after officials rushed in, it came to light that Vishwanath had five LPG cylinders and a gas geyser. He was also said to use various chemicals for welding and soldering work.
Fire department officials seized three LPG cylinders and said that customers were entitled to only two each. The initial report said it could be a gas leak mixed with chemicals, and an unattended electric welding machine which led to the blast. Fire officials questioned why none was aware of the illegal
commercial work going on in their neighbourhood. Locals said that Vishwanath’s family did not interact with neighbours and their door was always locked.
BBMP’s Additional Director (Town Planning) R Prasad said it was illegal to undertake commercial activities in residential spaces and BBMP can cancel the occupancy certificate of the apartment complex and book cases.