If you use piped natural gas and smell a leak, don’t turn on your gas even if your windows are open. Dadar resident Suman Marathe (79) learnt this on Tuesday morning.
Marathe was among the five people injured when a gas leak caused an explosion in her ground-floor flat in Abhijeet building on Tuesday morning.
The explosion damaged nearby flats in the housing complex, that houses 40 flats, and cars parked on the premises.
Marathe, Surendra Joijode (74) and Ratna Joijode (65) are recuperating at Hinduja hospital, while four-year-old Rudra Joijode is undergoing treatment with a paediatrician.
Sources said watchman John Dsouza (59) was treated at a private hospital.
The incident took place at 8.15 am, after Marathe returned from her elder daughter, Vaishali’s (46), Prabhadevi residence.
“She could smell gas when she entered the flat,” said Senior Inspector Ashok Unde of the Dadar police station. “She opened the windows. The minute she switched on the knob of the gas pipe, there was an explosion.”
Her flat wall fell into her neighbours Joijoides’ flat, injuring Surendra, his wife Ratna and their grandson Rudra.
Marathe has suffered 45 per cent burns.
“Her condition is stable but she has suffered grievous injuries. The two other patients are doing well,” said Dr Gustad Daver, senior surgeon, Hinduja hospital.
“The piped natural gas (PNG) had leaked profusely. We are investigating the source of the spark that could have caused the fire,” said P. Karguppikar, chief fire officer. “Once we know whether it was an electrical source, a matchstick or a lighter, will we be able to determine whether it was a case of negligence.”
Karguppikar added that they have asked Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) to provide details about the percentage of mercaptoethyl in the gas that lends the odour as a safety precaution during a leak.
Around 4 lakh people use piped gas from MGL in Mumbai, Thane and Mira-Bhayander. “Preliminary investigations indicate the possibility of non-compliance of safety norms by the user,” said an MGL spokesperson.
“It has also been observed that the original fittings have been tampered with,” he added.
MGL’s technical team too is conducting an investigation.
“I thought it was an earthquake. There was explosion and shards of glass showered on me. Had we not covered ourselves with a sheet, I would have been badly injured,” said Meenakshi Zantye, a second-floor resident of Abhijeet building.