Rawalpindi - Three people sustained serious burn injuries yesterday when a gas cylinder exploded with a big bang while being refilled.
The incident took place within the limits of Police Station Pirwadhai. The officials of Rescue 1122 allegedly arrived the spot late and the locals shifted the victims to Holy Family Hospital (HFH) for treatment.
According to eyewitnesses, the owner of the shop was refilling the cylinder in his shop located at Ali Market, Khayaban-e-Sir Syed, when it exploded with a big bang. This, they said, caused a huge fire that also engulfed nearby shops. Locals called Rescue 1122 but it could not reach in time, they added.
The officials of Rescue 1122 reached the spot late and put out the fire. Following the incident, the residents of the area protested against the district government as well as police for letting gas filling shops operate in the area despite clear ban on this illegal business. They demanded Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and IG Police Punjab Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera to take stern action against high-ups of district government and concerned police officers for closing their eyes towards this ongoing illegal business in their areas.
“We were very happy after reading reports in newspapers that the RPO had ordered crackdown against illegal gas refilling agencies in the region but his orders were put in dustbin by his subordinates,” said Amjad Ali, a citizen while talking to The Nation. He said that no action was taken against the shop owner despite several application were lodged with police station concerned.
Many others said the business of illegal LPG refilling is going unchecked in the region and demanded early steps to stop it.
SP Rawal Division Malik Iqbal, when approached by The Nation for his comments over the cylinder blast , was not even aware of the occurrence of the tragic incident. He said, “Give me some time I will call you after checking from the police station concerned.”
RPO Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja could not be contacted for his comments.
A doctor treating the injured told this correspondent that the condition of the injured is critical and the doctors are trying their level best to save their lives. However, the hospital could not ascertain the names of the victims.
When contacted, Rescue 1122 spokesman Farooq Butt denied that rescuers reached late on the incident place. He said the fire brigade trucks of Rescue 1122 reached there within 8 minutes and extinguished the fire. “But the locals had shifted the injured to hospital in private cars before the arrival of Rescue 1122,” he admitted.