3 suffer burns in LPG leak fire

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In yet another tragedy involving gas leak in Chennai, three persons including a 60-year-old woman suffered serious burn injuries at Porur Friday morning.

The incident happened in a ground floor apartment on Arunachala Main Road in Ambal Nagar in Porur where software professional couple Jaganathan and Jeeva lived with Jagannathan’s mother Siveneswari and brothers-in-law Gopi, 18, an engineering student, and Aravind Kumar, 20, who works in a private firm in the city.

The gas had leaked from the additional cylinder kept in the hall of the two bedroom flat on Thursday night. “The gas had filled the hall and the bedroom where Siveneswari, Gopi and Aravind Kumar were sleeping.

At 5.30 am, the place caught fire possibly caused by a spark when some electric equipment was switched on,” the police said. Siveneswari, Gopi and Aravind Kumar suffered burn injuries and were rushed to hospital in Porur.

Jaganathan, Jeeva and their three-year-old child escaped ass they were sleeping in the other bedroom.

“As the ambulance failed to arrive quickly, Jagannthan fetched an autorickshaw and took the injured to hospital,” said one of the neighbours. Hospital sources said Sivaneswari suffered 80 per cent burns, while other two suffered 40 per cent burns.

The furniture in the hall and bedroom, the television set and computer were damaged in the fire.
Meanwhile, the toll in the gas leak fire in Thirumangalam on Wednesday evening rose to four on Friday with the death of Ravi.

Three others, including his sister and college-going nephew, had died on Wednesday night itself.

Need to educate users on safety

The recent mishaps in the city caused by LPG cylinder leaks has emphasised the need to educate consumers about safe handling of gas cylinders, with distributors pointing out that 95 per cent of accidents involving gas cylinders could be prevented.

Gas distributors attributed the recent accidents to carelessness of consumers and say that every consumer should be aware of the safety guidelines. Consumers, who are supposed to insist on safety inspection, are not present in most cases during installation, claimed distributors.

“The problem is that the majority of users do not check for the safety cap on the cylinder. It is specifically designed to prevent gas leaks. If consumers have a spare cylinder they should ensure that it is sealed with a safety cap. They can also opt for the preferred time delivery service,” said A. Ramachandran, a distributor.

“When people smell the gas leak, they should open the windows immediately. Homemakers who wake up early in the morning should first open the kitchen windows before turning on an electric switch,” said a fire safety officer. Homemakers were quick to voice support for the preferred time delivery scheme.

“If the delivery is on time, we will definitely avoid housing a spare cylinder. Our main concern is timely delivery and it will be good if all the companies issue safety measure pamphlets on every delivery,” said A. Geetha Vani, a homemaker.

Consumers make 60 calls per day

LPG complaint cells are flooded with calls, according to one cell run by a public sector company that says nearly 60 calls of gas leaks are received every day.

"On a average we receive up to 60 calls a day. During peak delivery time, we receive up to 80 calls," one person manning one such compliant cell told Deccan Chronicle on Friday.

Some customers allege that they always receive a busy tone when they call these toll-free numbers. Consumers also lament that the website where they can register their complaints online does not seem to work.

"If there is a gas leak in our house, we expect an immediate response. However, we are often forced to personally go to a gas agency and get a person home to take care of the situation," a housewife from Perambur said.

The complaint cell of a gas agency claimed that they would ask technicians to attend to calls as quickly as possible.

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