Four members of a family were killed and two critically injured after a fire broke out in a four-storey building in Shahdara’s Seemapuri area, in the early hours of Friday.
According to residents, a short circuit in the electricity meters sparked off the blaze in the ground floor. The family, which lived on the second floor, tried to escape but were trapped on the stairs.
DCP (Shahdara) Nupur Prasad said the fire broke out at A-99 in Dilshad Colony around
3 am. “Police teams and officials from the fire department were dispatched to the spot. It took 10 fire tenders over an hour to control the blaze. Six persons, who were found to be injured, were taken to GTB hospital where doctors declared four of them brought dead,” the DCP said.
The deceased have been identified as Sanjay Verma (40), his children Harshu (12) and Chiku (4) and his father-in-law Vijay Verma (63).
Sanjay’s wife Mona (34) and a neighbour who lives on the third floor, Binesh Rathi, are critical. Police said Binesh fractured her spine as she jumped from the top floor. She is admitted in Max Hospital. One of the children, Dishu, and her aunt managed to escape.
A police officer told The Indian Express, “When the fire broke out, some of the residents managed to get out while others remained in their homes. By the time Verma and his family ran out of the house, the blaze had spread to the second floor. They rushed to the terrace but found the door locked. They died of suffocation.”
Sources said two-wheelers and bicycles parked on the ground floor also caught fire.
Shankar Durani, who lives on the third floor, told The Indian Express, “At first, my mother and I stayed inside the house. When the blaze got stronger, we managed to escape by jumping on to the balcony of the neighbouring building. ”
He added that as soon as the fire was doused, he and the other neighbours rushed to the stairs and found the bodies.
Neighbours alleged that the fire broke out because BYPL did not install the meters properly. “We want action against those who installed the meters so close to each other,” a neighbour said.
In an official statement, the BYPL said, “In an unfortunate fire-related incident in Dilshad Garden, four people lost their lives. Preliminary reports suggest that the fire started from the water motor installed in the house, spread quickly and gutted several two-wheelers parked in the vicinity besides the electricity meter board. As a safety measure, power supply was switched-off in the area. Our condolences are with the family of the deceased.”
Police said they have registered a case against unknown persons under IPC sections 304A and 287 and have started a probe.
Daughter, aunt survive
Minutes after the fire broke out, eight-year-old Dishu and her aunt, Happy, ran down the stairs and escaped the blaze. However, her parents, grandfather and siblings were not so lucky.
A police officer said, “Dishu and her aunt ran down the stairs. By then, the blaze had spread to the first floor. However, a family living on the first floor pulled the duo inside.”
Police said Dishu and her aunt are under observation and are being counselled. Police added that the family had celebrated the birthday of one of their children on Wednesday night.
(With inputs from Saksham Chaudhary, an intern at The Indian Express)