A woman and her two children in Ennore were charred to death in a fire that engulfed their house on Monday afternoon. Police are investigating whether it was an accident or a case of immolation.

Ennore police identified the dead as Shenbagavalli (28), Deepak (7) and Gokul (5).

Shenbagavalli was married to Ramesh (30), an autorickshaw driver, and the family lived on the second floor of the house on 3rd Street, Annai Sivagami Nagar.

Shenbagavalli's neighbour Rajakumari said around 2.30 p.m. smoke was noticed billowing out from the victims' house.

“Suddenly, the sheets on the roof of the house started burning. We rushed to our terrace and started throwing water. Several neighbours were involved in the effort to put out the flames but the blaze could not be controlled,” she said.

The narrow, steep stairs to the house proved to be an obstacle for some neighbours who attempted to rescue the woman and the children. The fire was put out in 20 minutes by the local people and personnel of the Ennore police station. The main door of the house that was locked from inside was broken open.

“Most residents were under the impression that there was no one in the house. But when we went in, we found the badly burnt body of an adult under a half burnt almirah of clothes. In the room close to the kitchen, the charred bodies of the children were spotted,” said J. Mahadevan, a constable attached to the Ennore station.

Shenbagavalli was last seen bringing her children from the school for lunch. The boys were in class II and UKG and their bags were left behind in their classrooms. Her parents, Jyothi Kumar and Kanthi, who are living on the first floor had gone to a temple in Periyapalayam at the time of the incident.

Some women in the neighbourhood said Shenbagavalli often quarrelled with her husband.

Keywords: fire accident

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