At least 20 boys staying in a hostel run by a trust on Bagepalli Road in Chintamani, 75 kilometres from the city, had a close shave after nearly 900 Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders that were loaded in two lorries exploded due to a mysterious fire which broke out in the wee hours of Monday. No one else was injured in the serial cylinder explosions caused by the fire, which saw cylinders flying up to 500 metres in high and exploding. The two gas cylinder-laden lorries were parked outside the godown of SLN Gas Agency on Nayanahalli Road, three kilometres away from the main town of Chintamani. The agency is said to be owned by Srinivas, a relative of a member of Parliament. The Chintamani rural police registered a case and summoned a team of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) experts to ascertain the possible cause of the fire. The police have also reported the matter to the transport department and electricity board to investigate the cause of the fire. The fire broke out around 12.30 am, and the watchman, Muni Krishna, who was at the godown, saw it first. Before he could act, the fire had spread rapidly to both the lorries. He then ran to safety, nearly one kilometre away, as cylinders started flying in the air and exploding. The flames were visible to those standing almost three kilometres away from the spot. Krishna then informed the matter to the owner Srinivas, who stays in the vicinity. The owner, who rushed to the spot, panicked as he saw the fire and informed the matter to the fire department personnel and the police. He also called all his other friends seeking help. "The fire was so massive, we were unable to go anywhere close to the godown and had to stand almost a kilometre away. Two lorries and a jeep were completely gutted in the mishap. All the safety measure were taken and the lorries were parked regularly outside the godown since the last two decades. This is the first time such an incident has occurred. Each lorry had around 448 gas cylinders, and in total nearly 900 cylinders have been gutted. There were 3,000 more cylinders inside the godown, but luckily, the fire was doused before it could spread to the insides of the godown," Srinivas said.