DEATH STRUCK Bibipur — an illegally inhabited village within the Indian Air Force station here— late Monday evening, claiming five lives in three successive explosions in a house.
Several people, including children, were feared trapped under the debris of the house in which firecrackers were kept illegally. The intensity of the explosion was such that people saw bodies flying as far as 40 metres away. The entire house built in an area of 200 sq yards was reduced to rubble in a matter of seconds. A major portion of adjoining boundary wall of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) collapsed as well.
SSP PC Meena confirmed five deaths, including that of a woman Renu and a three-year-old girl Sonal. Others’ mutilated bodies were yet to be identified. “We are looking for more people believed to be trapped inside,” he said.
Five families inhabited the house, which the police believed was being used to make fire crackers for Diwali.
Initial investigation revealed that families of Mukesh Valmiki and his brother Rakesh Valmiki had recently shifted to this place from Devigunj — a locality notorious for this business. This morning, the locals say, a number of people had visited the Valmikis apparently to collect their consignment..
“The persons present in the house obviously erred in handling the cracker,” said CO Kotwali Rakesh Jolly, supervising the rescue operations. The police found a large quantity of unexploded firecrackers, mainly tiny ‘sutli’ bombs, and glossy packaging material littered all over the place.
An eyewitness Usha saw a body landing 40 metres away from the explosion site in a pond. According to her at least 10 persons should be inside the debris as several family members of tenants like Rame, the Valmikis, Balaji and Raj Bahadur were missing.