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5 die as tanker hits houses

Jamshedpur, Aug. 21: Five persons were burnt to death when an oil tanker caught fire after crashing into houses off National Highway 33 at Pitajudih village, 50 km from here.

Nine persons have been admitted to hospitals in Jamshedpur and Ghatshila. Four of them are at Tata Main Hospital (TMH) with 90 per cent burns. Three, including a six-month-old, are at MGM Hospital with minor injuries.

The oil tanker was on its way to the Steel City when the driver lost control after hitting a tree around 2 am today. Sources said he tried to manoeuvre the tanker back on the road, but hit the houses instead. Five houses caught fire. The driver and the cleaner were charred to death. They have not been identified.

Hearing a blast outside his house, 36-year-old Jalaluddin opened the door only to be caught in a thick cloud of fumes. “Seconds later, a ball of fire hit me. Though I felt the fire all over me, the thought of my child being caught in the blaze made me rush back into the house,” said Jalaluddin, who is admitted at MGM along with his 30-year-old wife Nibura Biwi and six-month-old son Mozibur. But three elderly family members were badly burnt and died on the way to hospital. They have been identified as Mohammed Nizam, Mohammed Jaan Khan and Harjaan Biwi.

“The condition of all the burn victims is very critical and chances of survival are minimal. Apart from the burns, the poisonous fumes which have entered their lungs have reduced the chances of survival,” a doctor at the burns unit at TMH revealed.

Two children — five-year-old Taranum and 12-year-old Mohammad Azharuddin — are in a local hospital at Ghatshila.

“The families whose houses have been damaged would be given houses under Indira Awas Yojna. We have paid Rs 1,000 to each family that has sustained losses and Rs 20,000 to the kin of the three who died. Food material has been given to all affected people,” East Singhbhum sub-divisional officer Amitabh Kaushal said.

Traffic was disrupted for some hours as the tree, which was uprooted by the impact, blocked the highway. The accident site falls under the Shyamsunderpur police station.

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