A 49-year-old man and his daughter died due to suffocation after his new e-bike went on flames in front of his house on Balaraman Street in Chinna Allapuram near Old Town in Vellore in the early hours on Saturday.
Police said that M. Duraivarma (49), who runs a photo studio near Tollgate for many years bought a new e-bike a few days ago. He plugged the charger of his e-bike to an old socket at the entrance of his small asbestos roofed house before he went to sleep along with his daughter on Friday night. However, due to an electrical short circuit, the e-bike went up in flames resulting in thick smoke engulfing the house.
Along with his 13-year-old daughter, D. Mohana Preethi, who studies class eight, Duraivarma, was found dead in his house by the police. “The socket seems to be an old one and has less voltage capacity to charge an e-bike. They might have died due to suffocation as we did not find any burns on the victims,” police said.
It was around 1 a.m on Saturday, the neighbours found the e-bike on flames. They immediately alerted the local police and Duraivarma’s elder sister, who stays a few houses away on the street. As the fire was intense, the residents found it difficult to put down the fire that spread to an adjacent petrol bike.
Smoke engulfed the entire house while the residents tried to save the victims. Fire fighters from Vellore town reached the spot and put down the fire. They broke open the main door and found the duo dead with minor injuries. Bodies were sent to the Government Medical College Hospital in Adukkamparai on the Arani route for post mortem. A case has been filed by Bagayam Police.
Police said that the victim, Duraivarma, lost his wife nine years ago in 2013. Since then, he left his daughter in his relative’s house in Polur near Tiruvannamalai town for better education and was living with his son. His daughter visited his house a few days ago to see him after a long time.
After returning from work, Duraivarma and his two children had dinner with him while his son left for his aunt’s house. That saved his life at the time of the accident, police said.