My friend’s grandmother, who is a very old woman, told us about a real incident. We have been trying to find out where this had happened. But, old ladies do not often remember several details about life and its incidents. Thus, we could not find out much about it. However, we are trying to create awareness about such incidents happening due to vehicles with fuel.
3-4 months have passed after this incident happened. A scooty was parked near the wall of a 7-storey building. There was a shut warehouse on the ground floor. The grilled windows of the first floor flat were filled with rarely used stuff from the house in jute bags. Toy cycles of children were also lying inside the grills. Some pesticides and floor cleaners were also placed there to be out of reach of children. There were also a bed and an LPG cylinder inside the bedroom near that window. Plenty of flowering plants in mud pots were placed on the window sill of second floor flat just above.
This second-floor flat was locked at night since the tenants had gone out for 2-3 days. Approximately at 11 PM one day, the scooty exploded. The jute bags inside the window of the first floor flat caught fire. The plastic stuff also began to melt and the glass stuff and the cylinder exploded. The second-floor grills melted and all the mud pots fell down. With that, the fire on the ground floor got extinguished and it began to smoke. The plants had not been watered for some time. If they had been watered, the damage would have been less.
The gas inside the cylinder also created a large fire and explosion. Everybody from the other flats of the building and elsewhere ran out to find out what had happened. There was a gaping hole on the first and the second floor. Window-grills from the third floor were hanging precariously. Luckily, the first-floor tenants were in the living room. The whole first floor could have exploded. The cylinder had rolled as it was exploding. Everybody argued with the first-floor tenants for cooking in the bedroom. But, the truth was the cylinder was ½ filled. They used to cook on a cooking range. So, they had shifted the cylinder into the bedroom.
When the smoke cleared from the ground floor, people realized that the scooty’s fuel tank had exploded and created the havoc. Experts were called to confirm their doubts. The builder washed his hands off the building and told the tenants to take care of their problem themselves. The security guard had to sit near the site of the incident to guard the second floor flat until the tenants returned. This was because they did not know the whereabouts of the tenants.
We consulted a civil engineer and an automobile engineer regarding this incident. They told us the following:
- Most builders cheat the tenants and the buildings begin to crumble within 10 years. One of the reasons for such incidents is this kind of cheap construction. While buying a new flat, people should ascertain the builder’s credentials. If possible, a civil engineer should be consulted before buying the flat.
- Trees and plants should be planted. But, they need not be all around the compound wall. Trees should be planted leaving 2-3 feet in between.
- When the ground floor is occupied by commercial establishments, they do not allow even children to play in the compound in front. This is wrong. This compound belongs to the entire building. If someone had paid for the front area to the builder, then it is their foolishness.
- A motor vehicle with fuel should always be parked 10-12 feet away from the building. People argue that fuel or automobile parts are stolen. They even chain the vehicles to the wall. This is not a done thing, if only for the safety of the tenants themselves.
- There is a threat of theft for these vehicles. So, these vehicles can be stored inside a large grilled cage with a collapsible gate. After all the vehicles have arrived in the evening, the security guard should lock the cage. This is to be placed in the front area of the building. Either the security guard keeps the keys. Or each vehicle owner has a set of keys with them.
- You should buy a branded vehicle of good quality.