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October 24, 2020

Man injured in Maskan Chowrangi blast dies

Karachi

October 24, 2020

A young man who was injured in a deadly explosion at an apartment near Maskan Chowrangi on Wednesday died during treatment at a hospital on Friday, bringing the death toll of the incident to six.

Twenty-three-year-old Ilyas succumbed to his injuries during treatment at a hospital on Friday. Earlier, five people lost their lives and 22 others were injured in the explosion near Maskan Chowrangi within the limits of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station.

Ilyas was a resident of Faqir Colony in Orangi Town. Police have registered two separate cases – one was lodged by police over the massive loss of lives and property while the second was lodged by the building’s union against the administration of the bank where the blast occurred.

The blast took place at a ground-plus-four-storey residential building, Noor Apartments, opposite to the University of Karachi gate, having banks and commercial shops on the ground and mezzanine floor.

The loud blast was heard miles away while the windowpanes of nearby buildings and parked vehicles were shattered. It also badly damaged the first two floors of the building, and weakened the foundations of the building. Many motorcyclists and motorists besides pedestrians were injured by the falling debris and glass shards.

SSGC’s version

In a statement issued on Friday, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) said the reason for the blast in the apartment building in Gulshan-e-Iqbal was wrongfully attributed to the leakage of natural gas. However, it said, there was ample evidence to suggest that this was not the case, in light of the facts being noted here.

“As an established protocol, SSGC’s emergency teams rushed to the blast site and, as a precautionary safety measure, instantly switched off the main gas supply to the building. The teams found out that there was no damage to any service line, valve and gas meter at the site of the blast.

“All gas pipelines and all domestic gas meters along with three commercial meters installed at the blast site also remained unharmed. It must also be noted that of late neither the SSGC’s 24/7 operational 1199 helpline nor the company’s social media pages received any gas-related complaint from the residents of the said apartment.”

The statement further said: “It is also important to point out that the commercial bank below the building did not have a SSGC gas connection. As television reports showed, residents and eyewitnesses categorically dispelled any sign of gas leak since no one sensed a pungent smell of a leak. CCTV footage clearly showed a powerful explosion that had no trappings of blasts, usually associated with gas leakage. In fact, if it was the case of a leakage, there would have been a massive fire following the blast, as well. However, all one saw was the crumbling debris and shreds of glass and no blackened and burnt out infrastructure.”

As per the directives of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, the SSGC said, gas leakage taking place outside one’s house or business must be immediately reported to the company’s 1199 Helpline for which the relevant departments had to respond in the quickest possible time. “Moreover, SSGC teams regularly patrol in their respective zones to effectively handle any emergency situation.”