Panic spread among people in Marrikunta Thanda, a hilly area in Owk mandal of Kurnool district on Saturday as fire errupted from cracks that developed on earth.

Cracks in the ground were seen up to a depth of about 200 metres and flames were seen spreading from the gaps.

An electric pole was melted due to heat generated in the earth. The news spread in the surrounding villages and people in large numbers flocked to witness the fire from earth at the hamlet.

Owk Tahsildar Sanjeevaiah, rushed to the spot and made inquiries. He later informed the matter to the officials of Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and Mines and Geology department.

The officials of the departments arrived the spot and trying to find out the reasons for the fire from ground.

It is learnt that, in the past, the ONGC had conducted a survey at Marrikunta Thanda and confirmed the presence of gas reserves.

For the past some days, the district is registering abnormal temperatures.

Due to adverse climatic conditions, heat would have generated and fire might have broken out of the earth, the officials felt.

Moreover, deforestation is also responsible for abnormal temperatures in the district, according to the villagers. With the incident, the villagers of Marrikunta Thanda and Lakshmi Palli are in the grip of fear.

Source: The Hans India (edited)