One person was charred to death and four others suffered serious burns in an explosion at a place in Chokkanathanpatti village, Tirumangalam, in the district on Monday.
According to Tirumangalam Station Fire Officer (SFO) J Jeyarani, the fire brigades received a call at 12.25 pm. District Fire Officer S Kalyanakumar, along with the fire brigades from Madurai and Tirumangalam, rushed to the spot and put out the raging fire.
Jeyarani said a gas cylinder kept in a room, where all the ill-fated victims were present, exploded and burst into flames. The explosion occurred while an inmate was engaged in cooking. Gas leak from the cylinder could have sparked the explosion. Small petrol and diesel cans kept in the room were also destroyed in the fire.
A total of 18 fire fighters from two water tenders and a foam tender battled for about 30 minutes to put the blaze under control.
The deceased has been identified as P Ganesan (40) of Karadikal.
He was asleep when the explosion occurred. The rest of the victims, who suffered burns, were involved in playing carrom, police sources said.
The Tirumangalam SFO said the condition of R Vijayakumar (35) of Karadikal and A Karthik (24) of Vinayagar Kovil Street, Kapalur, is said to be critical as they suffered 80 to 90 per cent burns. They were admitted to Tirumangalam Government Hospital.
The other two victims, identified as M Asaithambi (50) of Karadikal and Arumugam (60) of Kapalur, were under treatment at Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital, Jeyarani said.