Six members of a family, including two children, were injured after a fire resulting from a leak in the cooking gas pipe engulfed their flat in Sadar Bakshi Lane in Howrah on Friday afternoon.
All six persons were taken to Howrah District hospital, where doctors said the condition of Parul Das, 66, and her granddaughter Bidisha, 11, was critical.
The others were Parul’s son Biswanath, 45, his wife Shilpi, 32, their son Biswayan, 12, and a relative, Basanti Das, 45.
Four fire tenders went to the spot and fought two hours to control the blaze.
A fire services department officer said the rubber pipe that sprang a leak was old and should have been replaced long ago.
“According to safety guidelines, the rubber pipe connecting the cylinder and the oven should be checked periodically. Consumers, for their safety, should ask the LPG dealer to send people to check the condition of the tube,” said Samir Chowdhury, the divisional fire officer, Howrah.
“Also, one should use pipes authorised by the Bureau of Indian Standards.”
Police said the family runs a home delivery service from their ground-floor flat.
“Shilpi, Basanti and Biswanath were cooking for their customers when the accident occurred around 2pm. The gas suddenly started leaking from the tube and caught fire. The blaze spread to the rooms in a flash,” said Chowdhury.
The police said neighbours were alerted after Bidisha, despite being in flames, managed to unbolt the main door of the flat and rush out. The neighbours rescued the others trapped in the flat and alerted the fire brigade.
“The flat has been gutted but our team succeeded in preventing the blaze from spreading to neighbouring apartments,” said Chowdhury.