The 18 injured were shifted to different hospitals in the district, another police officer said, adding that the deceased include five women, three girls and a boy.
"The blast and subsequent blaze, which started around 5 AM spread swiftly engulfing houses, coconut farms and vehicles parked in the vicinity. In 15 minutes everything was gutted," the police officer said.
However, the Chairman B C Tripathi said, "the exact cause of the blast is not immediately known. After an inquiry only we will get the details and cause of the blast."
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has ordered a high-level inquiry headed by a Joint Secretary in his ministry. The probe panel will have officials of Oil Industry Safety Directorate, NDMA and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) as members but GAIL and ONGC, from whose fields gas was being supplied, have been kept out of it. The blaze occurred barely a few hundred metres from ONGC's Tatipaka Refinery located at the village.
"The gas pipeline has been shut. Fire has been controlled. This is a very serious situation and I have ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident," Pradhan, who is scheduled to visit the scene, told reporters in Delhi. Petroleum Secretary Saurabh Chandra, GAIL Chairman B C Tripathi and ONGC Chairman D K Sarraf are scheduled to accompany him.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy. Modi has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs two lakh from the PM's Relief Fund for the next of the kin of those killed. "My thoughts (are) with the families of those who lost their lives in the GAIL pipeline fire in AP. (My) prayers (are) with the injured," Modi said.
List of the injured
Jyothsna devi (8)
Mohan Krishna (7)
Kasi Chinna (18 months)
Jyothsna Devi (8)