Hyderabad: A major blast ripped through Chengicherla on Hyderabad's outskirts on Friday afternoon when the fuel in two tankers caught fire at a shed, injuring nearly 15 persons, three of them critically, who happened to be nearby. The fire kept raging for nearly two hours even as fire tenders made an effort to control the rogue flames. The flames and thick smoke kept billowing up into the sky unrelentingly, triggering panic among the residents.
The flames not only injured the people in the vicinity but also damaged houses. Everyone in the village were stunned when they heard loud reports of blasts occurring in a shed where the two fuel tankers stopped. About a half an hour earlier, the two tankers filled fuel from a bulk fuel filling centre and stopped at the shed while on their way towards Warangal. According to eye-witness accounts, the crew of the two tankers were tampering with the valves when the fuel caught fire. It was alleged that the crew were trying to close the valve after stealing about 15 litres of fuel for selling in Chengicherla village when the fuel suddenly caught fire.
All the 15 persons, who were injured in the blast, were those who were unlucky enough to be in the vicinity. A motor bike rider, wearing a helmet was one of the victims who was very close to the site of the blast. The flames burned large chunks of flesh on his body and he lay in writhing in pain with no help arriving for nearly half an hour. Later the locals, pulling themselves together, took him to a nearby hospital for first aid.
The police, however, say it is not yet known as to what has started the fire and why the crew had stopped both the vehicles at the mechanic's shed where the workers do welding works. The police said the crew who are six in number are on the run. As soon as the fire broke out, fire tenders were called which arrived in less than 20 minutes but could not bring the flames under control for a long time. The tender kept jetting streams of water in to the flames but to of no avail as the flames gained intensity gradually. Finally, after battling for more than two hours, the fire brigade tamed the flames.