Visakhapatnam: LPG cylinders go up in flames

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Truck driver loses control of the vehicle, hits a palm tree that falls on a live wire.

Visakhapatnam: Around 12.10 am on Thursday, the residents of Gudilova area under Anandapuram police station limits on the outskirts of Vizag city were startled awake by thunderous explosions.

As they rushed out of their homes to find what it was, they saw raging fire from a truck and LPG cylinders tossing from it with immense force. Even before they could completely understand what was happening, the LPG cylinders came crashing down and were found as far as 200 mts away from the truck.

Soon they alerted the police and firefighting personnel who rushed to the spot.
Police and fire service personnel said there were about 300 cylinders in the truck. However, no one was injured in the mishap.

The accident occurred as the driver of the truck, M. Nageswara Rao, lost control of the vehicle and hit a palm tree which in turn fell on a live wire leading to a series of sparks. Under the impact, the truck overturned leading to damage of some of the cylinders which started leaking the gas.

The sparks generated due to friction with the live wire led to the fire after coming in contact with the LPG and some cylinders exploded. The truck was carrying 306 LPG cylinders from Lankelapalem bottling unit of the BPCL Company to Santhabommali in Srikakulam district and the incident took place near Gudilova on Pendurthi-Anandapuram highway.

Sensing a major accident, the driver, Nageswara Rao, jumped out of his cabin to safety and called up the fire station and police control room. The explosion of cylinders panicked the locals and led to traffic jam on the road.

Though fire tenders from Vizag and Vizianagaram rushed to the spot, they could do little to control the fire. Over 150 LPG cylinders exploded and the remaining were intact, except for losing the paint outside.

“It took nearly three hours to control the flames and the truck was mangled under the impact of the blasts,” said district fire officer (DFO) J. Mohan Rao. The explosion occurred near a petrol bunk and we feared it would lead to a disaster,” said K. Prasakh, a resident of Gudilova.

Under the impact of the accident, electrical wires got snapped leading to a power cut in the area. The truck driver said the accident occurred when he was trying to avert knocking down a mentally unsound person walking on the road.

“Our preliminary investigation revealed that overspeeding was the reason for the mishap,” said ADCP (Traffic) K. Mahendra Patrudu. Commissioner of police T. Yoganand and experts from BPCL rushed to the spot for a preliminary inquiry.

Deputy Commissioner of Transport (Vizag) S. Venkateswara Rao said that unless they get a requisition from the police, his department would not take up any investigation with regard to the fitness of the vehicle. A case has been registered and investigation is on.

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