A mother and her two minor children lost their lives when a gas cylinder in their home exploded in Thanot village of Kalahandi district on Wednesday.

Police sources said Champa Meher, 40, was cooking when the cylinder exploded and fire engulfed the house. The woman and her two children, Amit (13) and Sunita (6), were charred to death.

The house was completely gutted. Fire service personnel recovered the burnt bodies that were sent to a government hospital at Dharmagarh for postmortem. Sub Divisional Police Officer Surendra Satpathy said investigations were on.

The gas cylinder was a small one of 5 kg weight, said the police.

Quoting neighbours, local media reports said the impact of the explosion was so severe that tremors were felt even in houses located 50 metres away.