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Patna: 51 killed in explosions
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | September 15, 2005 16:10 IST
Last Updated: September 15, 2005 17:28 IST
At least 51 people were killed on Thursday and several injured, many of them critically, when three godowns illegally stocking powerful crackers were blown up at Miyan Toli, 50 kms from Patna.
About 33 bodies have been recovered in rescue operations. Police officials have said that many more feared to be trapped under debris. Official sources said that all the injured were admitted to hospitals at Bakhtiyarpur and Patna for treatment and some of them are in a critical condition. Over 100 people were in the godowns at the time of the explosions.
The explosions were so powerful that the roofs and walls of the factories just collapsed under its impact and several persons were trapped in the inferno. While several persons were charred to death, others perished on inhaling toxic fumes or were crushed to death as people ran helter-skelter to save themselves.
"We first heard a loud blast and then, a series of explosions shook the whole place. The entire place presented a chaotic scene with everybody running for cover," says Aftab, a resident of Miyan Toli.
Fire tenders fought for over two hours to bring the blaze under control, Senior Superintendent of Police Kundan Krishnan told reporters, adding that fire fighting operations were hindered due to the heavy crowding of the area having narrow lanes.
Both the factories were licensed and the owner of one of them, Mohammed Hakim, has been arrested in this connection, the official said, adding that local people, with the help of the police, were clearing the debris to look for survivors. Deputy Inspector General (Patna range), R P Singh, said both the factories were licensed and the fire was suspected to have been caused by short circuit.
With inputs from PTI