Journalist, kin suffocate to death in fridge blast

Short circuit led to explosion: police

June 28, 2019 01:37 am | Updated 01:37 am IST - Chennai

A television reporter, his wife and mother were found dead on Thursday under mysterious circumstances at his residence in East Tambaram. The police said they died of suffocation due to the thick smoke that emanated after a refrigerator blew up, possibly caused by a short circuit.

The victim, B. Prasanna, 36, was working with News J Tamil television. Hailing from Kumbakonam, he had worked with other Tamil channels as well. He married Archana in 2013 and the couple had settled down in East Tambaram. Archana was a school teacher. His mother Revathi, a retired government servant, was living with them at an apartment on Thirumangai Mannan Street.

At 10.15 a.m, Durga, the domestic help, came to the house and knocked the door. As there was no response, she alerted the neighbours who broke open the door.

They found the rooms blackened and charred due to a fire and the inmates lying in different places.

Personnel from the Fire and Rescue Services and the police from Selaiyur station rushed to the spot. They entered into the house and found thick soot settled on the floor of the house.

A fire officer said, “When we entered the house, we found Prasanna and his family members lying dead in three different places. There were signs that a fire had occurred a few hours ago due to an electric short circuit in the puja room. The refrigerator was found to be damaged and other plastic materials had been gutted in the fire. The outer layer of the concrete ceiling had shattered due to the impact of the blast.”

St. Thomas Mount Deputy Commissioner of Police M.S. Muthusamy and Selaiyur Assistant Commissioner of Police R. Srinivasalu held an inquiry. Mr. Muthusamy said, “Experts inspected the spot and collected the samples from there. As per initial investigation, the fire was caused due to a short circuit in the switchboard above the refrigerator in the pooja room. The stabiliser burst and the fire engulfed the refrigerator which led to the blast. As a consequence, plastic materials and PVC cupboards also caught fire. The thick smoke that arose from this suffocated them.”

All windows and doors were found closed as the family had switched on the air-conditioners in the two bedrooms. There were hand prints on the wall suggesting that Prasanna had struggled to come out of the house.

The police ruled out any foul-play in the deaths. Further investigation is on by the Selaiyur Police. The bodies of the three were sent to Government General Hospital, Chrompet, for post-mortem and later handed over to the relatives of Prasanna.

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