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Chetla family trapped in LPG-leak fire rescued

Kolkata police said Padma Mandal, 25, was trying to light a gas burner when the pipe attached to the cylinder caught fire

Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 10.01.23, 08:51 AM
The hole through which the Chetla family was rescued on Monday.

The hole through which the Chetla family was rescued on Monday.

Sanat Kr Sinha

A couple and their two children were trapped in their one-room home in south Kolkata’s Chetla after an apparent LPG cylinder leak led to a fire that blocked the only exit on Monday morning.

Neighbours rescued the family after breaking a portion of a wall the house shares with another. All four have been admitted to SSKM Hospital.


Police said Padma Mandal, 25, was trying to light a gas burner (the family cook in the same room where they sleep) when the pipe attached to the LPG cylinder caught fire.

The house is in a congested neighbourhood adjoining a canal in Chetla.

“It was apparent that there was an LPG cylinder leak and the pipe immediately caught fire when the woman lit a match. The cylinder was placed close to the only entrance-exit of the house. So the family got trapped inside after the fire broke out,” said an officer of Chetla police station.

Apart from Padma, her husband Arun Mandal, 35, a daily wage earner, and their two children — Ankush, 6, and Jishu, 1 — were in the house when the fire broke out around 7.30am.

The family was rescued from the building by burrowing a hole in a wall the Mandals’ house share with another building.

Padma suffered burns on her hands and her husband fell sick after inhaling thick fumes, the police said. The children suffered relatively minor burns.

“We heard loud screams for help from the house. None of us could enter because the only entrance was blocked. There were huge flames. We first tried to douse the fire with buckets of water, but failed. The only way we could think of to rescue the family was to break the wall,” said a resident of the area who joined the rescue effort.

The police said four fire tenders were sent to douse the flames.

An official of the fire department said the house had very little ventilation, which could have resulted in the accumulation of the gas.

During winter, most people choose to sleep with all their windows closed to protect themselves from the cold. Incase of an LPG leak or a fire, the closed doors and window strap the gas or smoke and that can lead to the death of the residents.

Last November, a 59-year-old bank official and his 92-year-old father died in their sleep in separate rooms on the first floor of their house in Birati possibly after inhaling fumes from a fire from a short-circuit in a computer downstairs. “It is advisable to keep at least one window or a ventilator open before going to sleep at night,” said the fire department official.

Last updated on 10.01.23, 08:51 AM

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