Four of family killed in fire in Old Seemapuri

The three-storey building at Old Seemapuri in Delhi where a fire broke out on Tuesday.  

Four members of a family died of suspected smoke inhalation after a fire broke out at their residence in Shahdara’s Old Seemapuri in the early hours of Tuesday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) R. Sathiyasundaram said the deceased have been identified as Hori Lal (59), his wife Reena (55), their son Ashu (24), and daughter Rohini (18). The deceased couple’s younger son Akshay has survived the incident.

Mr. Sathiyasundaram said a call was received at 4 a.m. after which police and Delhi Fire Services (DFS) personnel reached the spot with four fire tenders and doused the blaze.

The grieving relatives of the family.

The grieving relatives of the family.  

“The fire was very small and only domestic articles were damaged. The four are suspected to have died of smoke inhalation,” DFS chief Atul Garg said.

A senior fire official said that the cause of the fire was not short circuit as the switch board in the house was intact. “The family used to light a diya every day. A mosquito repellant coil was also found close to the curtain, which is suspected to have caused the blaze, but investigation is under way,” the official said.

While waiting for the bodies at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital’s mortuary, Mr. Akshay said he returned home around midnight after work and brought eggs for dinner. “I am employed with a company as one of their house keeping staff and my shift gets over at 11 p.m.. My brother and I had dinner after which Ashu went upstairs to sleep while I stayed on the second floor,” he said.

The family lived in a three-storey building of which they owned the second and third floors. While Hori Lal worked as a peon in Shastri Bhawan, Reena worked as a sanitation worker with the municipal corporation. Ashu had started a contractual work at North Block a few months ago and Rohini was a Class XII student in a government school nearby.

Sunny Kumar (20), who stays opposite the building, said he and his family woke up after hearing the glass windows break. “We ran to our balcony and saw fire on the third floor. There was a lot of smoke. We started shouting but no one heard us. A few minutes later, Akshay came out of his room,” he said.

Mr. Akshay immediately went to the third floor but he couldn’t open the door. He then came to the ground floor and opened the door for Mr. Kumar and a few others. “We all went to the third floor and managed to open the door. They were all lying lifeless. Rohini and Ashu were closer to the door. They were probably trying to reach the door but couldn’t,” Mr. Kumar said.

Mr. Akshay said that his father was due to retire in March 2022 and his brother Ashu was engaged to be married soon.

Ashu’s fiancé — a 19-year-old girl who had passed Class XII a few months ago — mourned his death outside the house. “I stay in Mahipalpur and we got engaged in August. The wedding date was not finalised but families were talking about fixing it sometime after Diwali. However, I told them that I wanted to study further and we should wait for at least a year,” she said.

The police said a case under Sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house ) and 304A (causing death by negligence) under the Indian Penal Code has been registered and investigation is under way.

The bodies were handed over to the family in the evening after post-mortem.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 7:14:48 AM |

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