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VELLORE: Four members of a family, including a two-year-old girl, were charred to death and five others suffered severe burn injures when a cooking gas cylinder exploded in their house at Katpadi in Vellore district on Tuesday. Three of the injured, belonging to the same family, are in a critical condition. Two others are stated to be out of danger.

image of cylinder blast

Puniyamoorthy 65, his wife Maheswari, 55, sons Baskaran and Bhoobalan and the latter's wife Sangeetha and daughters Kavitha, 2, and six-month-old Shivani were staying on the rented first floor of a two-storey house in John Nagar. The owner of the building Karthikeyan and his wife Lavanya stayed on the ground floor.

The gas may have been leaking from the cylinder and Maheswari, who got up in the morning, lighted the stove, triggering an explosion. Her charred body was recovered from the debris in the kitchen area while the bodies of three others -- Punniamoorthy, Sangeetha and Kavitha -- were found in an adjacent room.

The blast was so intense that it razed the entire building. Baskaran, Bhoobalan, Shivani, Karthikeyan and Lavanya were injured in the explosion.

Police registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPc and 9 (1) of the Explosives Substances Act and began investigations. Presence of any explosive in the house has been ruled out as there is no evidence to that effect.