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Burns. 2013 Nov;39(7):1479-87. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Fire disaster following LPG tanker explosion at Chala in Kannur (Kerala, India): August 27, 2012.

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  • 1Burns and Plastic Surgery, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal 576 104, Karnataka, India. Electronic address:


A fire disaster following LPG tanker explosion occurred at Chala bypass, Kannur, Kerala, India on August 27, 2012. The three chambered tanker with total 16tonnes (162.57 quintal) LPG collided with a road divider and exploded thrice. A total of 41 people became victims during first blast; out of which 20 died in various hospitals. Five people remained inside the house after first blast and escaped unhurt from the zone of accident before second blast. All the victims were transferred to various hospitals; of these, six were transferred to the burns unit of the Kasturba Hospital, Manipal (320km from Chala). Five (5/6) were transferred within 1-5 days at our burns unit suffered 31-72% total body surface area (TBSA) burn, none had external injuries. One (1/6) was transferred on 20th day as a follow up case of 15% TBSA burn with 4% residual raw area and diabetes mellitus. Except one, all were managed conservatively using Limited access dressings (LAD; Negative Pressure Wound Therapy). One of the patient wound bed prepared under LAD and on 41 post burn day underwent split skin grafting under LAD. Out of the six patients admitted at the burns unit, two (2/6) admitted patients expired (one due to inhalation injury and another due to sepsis with multiple organ failure). One survivor (1/4) developed sepsis related liver dysfunction with hepatomegaly but recovered well. The total hospital stay of survivors at the burns unit varied from 8 to 60 days (mean hospital stay 36.5 days). All the victims who developed psychological symptoms were treated by psychiatrists and counselled before discharge. Three of survivors developed psychological symptoms. Two of them (2/3) developed mixed anxiety-depression disorder (ICD 10 code F41.8) and one of these two showed grief reaction too (ICD 10 code F43.23). One victim (1/3) developed non-organic insomnia (ICD 10 code F51.0) and responded to counselling. The article describes the incident, mechanism of the incident, injuries sustained, author, explanations on pattern of burn and suggestions in relation to future safety measures.

Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Clinical forensic; Disaster; LPG; LPG tanker burst; Limited access dressing; Mass burn casualty

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