It was a perfect Diwali for Venugopal Rao from his wife Sharada. Just a fortnight ago, the couple were blessed with twins. The family was on cloud nine and to celebrate, Rao’s parents, Srihari Rao (60) and Aruna (50), came all the way from their native town to see their twin grandsons.
But fate had different plans for the couple. Rao’s parents and one of his twin sons perished in Sunday’s fire accident at Sriramnagar Colony in Manikonda. Sharada’s mother Anantharamma (55), who sustained serious injuries, is battling for her life at Osmania General Hospital (OGH).
Rao had gone to board a bus to Chennai to attend a task assigned by his company when he a got a call stating that Baba Nivas apartment in which he and his family was staying was engulfed in flames. He hired a cab and returned home immediately. After the cab left the premises, he realised that he forgot his cash bag in the vehicle. He then enquired with the rescue team, which informed that his parents and son got trapped inside the house and died, his neighbour Sheshamma said.
Fire-fighters said Sharada might have handed over a baby to Anantharamma and asked her and in-laws to scamper to safety. She then hurriedly came down with her elder son and another baby. But the elders could not come out of the building with the baby due to thick smoke and got trapped inside. By the time the rescuers managed to reach the flat, they were already dead.
A family had a providential escape after they went to watch a just released Nagarjuna-starrer ‘Dhamarukam’, while a few others left the premises to have dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Ranga Reddy Joint Collector R. Muthyalaraju said the toll rose to six with the death of 51-year-old security guard D. Bhaskar Rao after midnight. Apart from the security guard and Rao’s parents and son, two others – M. Venkata Subbaiah (59) and Allapati Mahalaxmi (88) lost their lives. The injured Anantharamma and Padma were admitted to the OGH where their condition is serious.
He said proposals were sent to the government requesting ex gratia to those who died in the accident. Officials of Revenue and R&B Departments were collecting more details to assess property damage in affected flats.
“We have also requested the R&B Department to check the structural stability of the building. At present, the flat-owners are staying at their relatives’ houses,” he explained.
The Cyberabad police said fire broke out from a shed used for storing film shooting material and spread to the Baba Nivas apartment.
Narsingi Inspector P. Narayana said cases were booked against shed-owner Vijay Kumar under Sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) of IPC and launched a hunt to trace him.