Umang Singh, who was burnt alive along with another young research scientist in the blaze at the country’s premier atomic research laboratory BARC, was not second time lucky.

It was only last week that Umang(27) had escaped with a minor injury on his hand when a small fire broke out last week in the same chemistry laboratory at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre where he met a fiery end yesterday.

“Last Friday, there was a small fire in the same laboratory where he died yesterday. Umang had extinguished it and escaped with a minor injury on his right hand,” Umang’s close friend Jairam Gholave, told PTI today while waiting to receive his friend’s body at J J hospital’s coroner’s court.

Gholave, doing his PhD in chemistry from the University of Mumbai, said he had scolded his friend for risking his life by putting out the fire with his hands instead of complaining about it to the BARC authorities.

Umang had responded to the friendly advice by saying that he was very passionate about his institution and since it was not a major blaze, he did not want to make an issue out of it, Gholave said.

As the distraught families of Umang and his research colleague Partha Bag, struggled to come to terms with the tragedy, Umang’s uncle Munna Singh, demanded an inquiry into the incident alleging that there was an attempt by the BARC to hush up the matter. The families and the friends of the victims were waiting at J J hospital to collect the bodies after post-mortem.

Umang was the youngest of his parents’ three children and their only son. Umang’s father retired from service a few years back and he was the family’s sole bread winner getting a stipend of Rs. 14,000 per month, Gholave said.

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