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Panchkula cylinder blast toll reaches seven; prof loses both sons

Black Diwali, four deaths in one day: Two brothers killed were part of crowd outside Sector-10 house on Diwali eve.

punjab Updated: Oct 24, 2017 09:47 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
Panchkula cylinder blast,cylinder blast,blast toll
Victim Anmol Garg’s classmate Harshita was among the many left in tears as pall of gloom engulfed Sector 10, Panchkula, after the news of casualties spread on Monday.(Sant Arora/HT)

All seven hospitalised after last week’s cylinder blast at Panchkula’s Sector-10 house are no more. After three deaths last week, four more succumbed to their injuries on Monday, leaving a pall of gloom in the neighbourhood.

The worst came for a commerce professor posted at Chandigarh Government College for Girls in Sector 42, Tarsem Chand Garg, who lost both his sons in a matter of few hours on Monday.

In the afternoon, Garg performed the last rites of his younger son, 22-year-old Anmol Garg, who succumbed to his injuries at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, he was later left stunned as his elder son, 24-year-old Pranshu Garg, also passed away during treatment at Mohali’s Fortis Hospital due to burn injuries.

(Left to right) Jignesh thanki, RK Singhal, Pranshu Garg, Anmol Garg and Ajit Chaudhary. (HT )

World collapsed for Garg: Neighbour

Garg’s neighbour Ved Makkar said Garg had raised both the sons on his own after his wife died around 12 years ago. “His entire world has collapsed with the death of both the boys who were intelligent and were doing extremely well in their professional career,” Makkar said.

  • Oct 18: Seven people injured as building of house no 702 collapsed in Sector 10 soon after a cylinder blast at 9.30pm
  • Oct 20: Retired teacher of a government school in Zirakpur, 70-year-old, Hem Raj Sharma, resident of house no 704, passes away due to over 70% burn injuries
  • Oct 22: 34-year-old software engineer Ajit Chaudhary, the owner of the house number 702 where the blast had occurred, and his immediate neighbour in house no 701, 77-year-old RC Sharma, a retired employee of Punjab State Electricity Board, pass away due to burn injuries.
  • Oct 23: Ajit’s another immediate neighbour 22-year-old Anmol Garg of house no 703 also dies along with another injured IT firm manager Jignesh Thanki (30), a tenant in house no 704

Anmol had recently graduated in computer engineering from Chandigarh’s PEC University, while Pranshu was an alumnus of IIM, Indore, and was working in a leading bank in Mumbai. He had come to Panchkula to celebrate Diwali with his family. But fate had something else in store.

Both the brothers were part of the crowd that had gathered outside their immediate neighbouring house number 702 after they smoke emanated from inside.

The house owner, 34-year-old software engineer Ajit Chaudhary, had rushed back from the market after he was told about the smoke. As he opened the door in the presence of the neighbours, the cylinder blasted, injuring seven, including Ajit.

Spate of Deaths

On Monday, apart from the two boys, a 30-year-old manager of an IT firm Jignesh Thanki also succumbed to his injuries.

Lessons to be learnt
  • In emergency situations such as this incident, residents should wait for fire brigade or police to reach before taking the matter into their own hands. In this incident, residents acted otherwise and went on to open the house.
  • Police suspect the cylinder was kept in the store room instead of an open space. The room was also being used by family as puja room where a diya was lighted everyday. They suspect when the family had gone out for shopping on Diwali eve, the cylinder caught fire, leading to explosion.
  • Police also said the family did not have a valid LPG connection. The cylinder was bought two days before the incident from some uncertified agency in the market.

Thanki originally hailed from Gujarat’s Porbandar area, and was living here as a tenant in the house of Ajiit’s neighbor Hem Raj Sharma, who was the first casualty of the blast on Friday.

Another area resident, 62-year-old RK Singhal, who was formerly a manager in a steel company, also passed away during treatment at Mohali’s Fortis hospital on Monday

Avoidable tragedy?

While police are still trying to ascertain how the cylinder blast took place, area police post in-charge Sukhjeet Singh said the mishap could have been avoided if the residents had waited for the fire brigade to arrive which was already alerted about the incident.

Also, the ambulance could not reach the spot on time due to haphazard parking inside Sector 10 at night, thereby leading to delay in taking injured to hospital

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 09:45 IST