Members of the disaster management group try to smash windows of the Girish Park flat where a cylinder is suspected to have exploded on Wednesday evening. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh
A couple suffered critical burns apparently after a cylinder in the kitchen of their Girish Park apartment exploded on Wednesday evening.
Ved Prakash Gupta, 40, and Kavita, 37, were taken to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, where doctors said their condition was “extremely critical” as both suffered 100 per cent burns.
Ved’s 80-year-old grandmother Nirmala has been admitted to the hospital with acute respiratory distress.
The couple’s children — Yash, 19, and Rani, 17 — were in the house but escaped unhurt as they were not near the kitchen.
Three tenders, helped by a team of the disaster management group of Calcutta police, controlled the blaze in an hour.
Neighbours and relatives of the Guptas who live in the three-storeyed building said they had heard an explosion and seen thick black smoke coming out of the kitchen windows of the family’s first-floor apartment in Sarkarbagan Lane around 8.15pm.
When some local youths ran to the three-room flat, they spotted flames leaping out of the windows of the bedrooms.
“We saw black fumes and then leaping flames through the windows of the flat. This was followed by cries of ‘aag, aag’,” said Umesh Mishra, who lives in a house just opposite the Guptas’. “While a few of us were rushing to the flat, the couple’s children were running down, crying.”
When the neighbours barged in, they saw Kavita lying in one of the bedrooms. Ved was prostrate on the passage leading out of the kitchen, while his grandmother was outside another room. Ved and Kavita could barely groan and Nirmala was gasping, said a witness.
“Guptaji had just returned from his shop in Thanthania, in central Calcutta, when the explosion occurred,” said Yogesh Jaiswal, a cousin of Kavita.
“We are a joint family living on the three floors of the building. Around 8.30pm, we heard an explosion and saw thick fumes and flames through the windows of the first-floor kitchen,” said Sangeeta Gupta, wife of Ved’s brother Yatindra.
Relatives said Yash is a second-year student at City College, while Rani studies in Class XII at Sree Digambar Jain School.
Girish Park police station has started a probe and seized an LPG cylinder and a smaller cylinder. The knob of one the cylinders was twisted.
“It seems to be a fire from gas leak. On Thursday, forensic experts will examine the spot. The cylinders will be sent for test,” said an officer of Girish Park police station.
A 55-year-old woman suffering from chest pain died after the ambulance she was being ferried in lost control and hit a tree near Fortis Hospital on the Bypass on Wednesday evening. The woman, Chhabi Ghosh, was a resident of Champahati in South 24-Parganas.