Himachal Pradesh Police and other central security agencies are of firm opinion after preliminary findings about the Tuesday evening blast in a food eatery nearly 100 meters away from the police control room.
Ending surmise and different theories about this shocking incident which left the resident of the town in deep distress District Police Chief Sanjay Gandhi said that a gas leak in the basement floor of a building that housed a popular food eatery, Himachali Rasoi, located near Mall Road in Middle Bazaar, resulted in a massive explosion on Tuesday evening.
He said that one person died and 13 suffered injuries in the tragic mishap that occurred around 1920hrs.
He said that impact of the blast was so intense that it damaged six to eight nearby shops and residences and sounds and shockwave was felt a kilometer away.
Police district chief Sanjeev Gandhi informed that the preliminary investigation indicated that the explosion was not caused by an LPG cylinder blast, as initially speculated.
He said the eatery which was off on Tuesday might have had a massive gas leak from LPG commercial cylinder kept in the small kitchen inside the eatery become a virtual gas bomb, leading to a powerful explosion.
He said that impact triggered the gas into an explosion which not only riffed off the shutters of the eatery but also caused a hole in the two floors above on the upper floor of a neighboring showroom.
Rejecting any suspicion of involvement of antisocial elements Police chief said that the gas leak had been ongoing for some time within the three-side closed chamber of the eatery on the basement floor.
“The situation turned dire as the leaked gas converted the eatery into a giant bomb, resulting in the impactful explosion,” SP informed.
Furthermore, the presence of a refrigeration compressor on the premises might have amplified the blast’s impact left one person dead and 13 others injured.
According to state police still five victims who suffered burns injured and bruises due to the blast are currently receiving medical treatment, and eight have been discharged.
Authorities are providing all necessary support to the affected families, he added.
Chief Fire Officer Shimla who visited the spot stated that a couple of intact cylinders were found at the blast site, but no evidence of any blasted cylinder was discovered in the vicinity.
Meanwhile to rule out the suspicion from the mind of people who are not ready to confirm police finding SP said that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.
The SIT comprises experts from the Forensic Department and officers from the Himachal Pradesh Police who are also examining all angles, including possible human errors, to determine the exact sequence of events that led to the tragedy.
The SIT has promised to deliver its report within seven days, and the authorities are assuring the public that all efforts would be made to prevent such incidents in the future
During police investigation and interaction with media eyewitnesses including a neighboring jeweler affirmed that they had noticed a lingering smell of gas in the area in the days leading up to the incident.
The shutters of the Food eatery, Himachali Rasoi could be seen closed in the CCTV footage on Tuesday which averted major mishaps as no customer was inside.
At the time of the blast, two staff members were present inside the eatery having the shutter down. If there had been customers on the premises, more damage could have been caused.
Authorities are thoroughly investigating the maintenance activities and the overall safety measures taken at the eatery.
Meanwhile, the entire premise is cordoned up to mall road near town halls. Residents of the town could be seen seeking answers about the tragic incident that shook their peaceful city.
There is some unanswered query police need to explain including providing if there was a gas leak and why mishaps couple of gass-filled cylinders were completely intact.
According to SP entire premise shattered by the blast was declared a vulnerable structure and instructions were passed by the Administration to state agencies including Shimla MC to consider the impact of the blast on the stability of the structure before extending any permission for future construction.