Gas cylinder blasts: Police launch manhunt for 4 suspects


Following a significant fire caused by multiple gas cylinder blasts in Pune’s Tathawade area, law enforcement authorities have initiated a search for four individuals suspected of unlawfully refilling propylene gas from a tanker into cylinders. Thankfully, there were no reported casualties in the blaze, but it did result in the complete destruction of four school buses parked nearby.
Ganesh Jawadwad, who oversees the Wakad police station, stated, “We have registered cases against four individuals involved in the unauthorized practice of transferring propylene from a tanker to smaller cylinders. A manhunt has been launched to locate them.”
The charges brought against these individuals encompass multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including theft (IPC 379), criminal breach of trust by the carrier (IPC 407), negligent conduct regarding fire or combustible matter (IPC 285), actions endangering the lives or personal safety of others (IPC 336), and property damage (IPC 427). Additionally, relevant sections of the Essential Commodities Act and the Explosives Act have been invoked. A second police officer stated, “We are actively searching for the individuals associated with this unauthorized refilling operation. It appears that the gas transfer was conducted in violation of the law, and the individuals involved may have fled the scene following the explosions.”
The incident unfolded around 11.05 pm on Sunday when the fire brigade and emergency response services were alerted to multiple significant gas cylinder explosions in the Tathawade area. While the initial report cited four major blasts, subsequent investigations revealed a total of nine explosions. The impact was substantial, prompting many residents in the vicinity to evacuate their homes and residential complexes. Firefighters managed to control the blaze within 20 minutes after their arrival on the scene. Subsequently, a cooling operation was carried out, involving the application of water to prevent secondary fires. According to Pimpri Chinchwad Fire Brigade officer Rushikant Chipade, “It is believed that the propylene gas, stored in a 21-tonne capacity tanker, was being illicitly transferred into 14.2 kg capacity cylinders. It is presumed that a leakage during this operation ignited the fire. The individuals involved in this activity are thought to have fled as soon as the fire broke out. Fortunately, no casualties or injuries have been reported.”
Chipade further explained, “Nine cylinders were found to have exploded, while ten were filled but not leaking, and eight were filled and leaking propylene at the site. Importantly, the tanker itself remained undamaged.”
Propylene, also known as propene, is a highly flammable hydrocarbon gas extensively used in industrial applications.