Restaurant Gas Blast Kills 89
Detonators were illegally stored next to restaurant in India
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 12, 2015 10:30 AM CDT
People help sift through and clear debris at the scene after an explosion at a restaurant in Petlawad, India today.   (Uncredited)
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(Newser) – At least 89 people were killed at a restaurant in central India today when a cooking gas cylinder exploded and triggered a second blast of mine detonators stored illegally nearby, police say. The restaurant, located next to the main bus station in the town of Petlawad in Madhya Pradesh state, was crowded with people having breakfast when the blasts occurred. Rescue workers have extricated at least 89 bodies from under a huge heap of rubble, says a police inspector in the mining district of Jhabua, where Petlawad is located. He says around 100 people injured in the blasts have been taken to hospitals.

The police spokesman says the building where the restaurant was located and an adjacent building were destroyed by the explosions, and motorbikes outside the restaurant were flattened. He says the detonators, used by miners for blasting operations or for digging wells, were stored illegally in a room adjacent to the restaurant. Mine operators are supposed to follow guidelines on the safe storage of detonators and other explosive materials but are often lax, and the district authorities rarely act against them, says another police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to reporters. (The quick thinking of a Seattle-area motel manager saved dozens of lives when a gas leak was detected.)