Three people, including a young girl, were injured after a large plastic balloon containing stolen gas exploded in Puyang county, Henan province.
Villagers in Shandong province had likewise attracted attention for their unconventional means of securing the highly flammable substance, and an employee at a natural corporation had previously warned that “The natural gas could leak from the plastic bags when villagers are carrying them back home. Any nearby spark caused by static could cause a gas explosion.”
This was seemingly the case on the morning of June 16, after Li Gutang stored natural gas from the Zhongyuan oil field in one of the flimsy plastic bags.
Li’s wife was cooking in the kitchen while Li was playing with his granddaughter, nicknamed Yanyan. Suddenly the gas bag exploded in the yard with a large bang.
Li’s body caught on fire, and some of the flames had leaped on to Yanyan. Villagers rushed over to help cut the girl’s clothes off and pour water onto Li and his wife. Li was severely injured, and he and his granddaughter were transferred to the a nearby hospital.
The villagers have reportedly been pilfering the natural gas this way for some 20 years without an accident. One bag, measuring around two meters high and 5.6 meters long, could support them for a month’s cooking needs.
“We were just making use of local resources,” one villager told reporters. “The fuels for cooking cost nothing, and the plastic bags could be seen everywhere on the market.”
“For two decades, there hasn’t been even one accident, ” another villager said. “Something must’ve gone wrong for Li’s family; maybe there was a cigarette end or an electrical wire that caused the fire”.
by Maggie Wong