At least 18 persons were injured, some critically, after two petrol tankers loaded with inflammable material, caught fire at the outskirts of Hyderabad on Friday.
The incident occurred at a vehicle repair centre on the Medipally-Chengicherla road. Both the tankers, and a few other vehicles were completely gutted.
A two-wheeler rider passing through the road sustained critical burns. The helmet-wearing man was found lying on ground, in deep shock. He was shifted to a hospital, where his condition is stated to be critical. All the injured were admitted to various hospitals nearby.
Huge flames and thick smoke broke out from a tanker and engulfed another tanker nearby. The massive fire and explosion sent panic among the residents in the area. Fire engines rushed from various places to control the flames.
Police said they were investigating the cause of the fire. However, locals alleged that the fire broke out when some people were breaking the seal of the tanker to steal petrol. They claimed that many tankers come to the place every day and this activity was going unchecked.
"There will be at least 10 tankers at this place every day but fortunately only two were there today, which limited the damage," said a resident.
Speaking to reporters, R Umamaheswara Sarma, DCP of Malkajgiri, said, “The lorry tanker belongs to a private petroleum company and it was diverted from a nearby refilling plant…Under the impact of the explosion, another empty tanker also caught fire and went up in flames as a result of which three fire service personnel suffered injuries.”
Ranga Reddy District Fire Officer B Harinatha Reddy told the media that there could be two reasons behind the incident.
“The tanker could have hit the wall while moving, resulting in sparks, or sparks could flown when welding was done to seal the pipe used to draw petrol,” he was quoted as saying.
Watch videos of the incident below.