He was set to get married on June 28. Many relatives had already arrived, and preparations were on in full swing. But Ravikant’s happiness was short-lived, as a fire caused by an LPG gas leak on Monday night sent him to the burns ward of Safdurjung Hospital. Also extinguished in the fire were five lives — those of Ravikant’s mother, brother, two aunts and a six-year-old cousin.
“The fire occurred at around 9.45 pm in Okhla Phase-1. Food was being prepared at a tea stall connected to the family’s home in the JJ Cluster. The fire broke out because of a leakage in an LPG cylinder. It was like a sudden explosion… Soon, it engulfed the entire shanty,” said Jitendra, Ravikant’s cousin, who had arrived to attend the wedding.
The tea shop was run by Ravikant’s father Surender. The family has been staying in the two-room shanty for over 20 years. Jitendra, who received burn injuries on his legs, hands and face, said, “Those who were out managed to save themselves, but people who were inside the house got trapped as the fire was near the exit.”
With help from the neighbours and fire engines of the Delhi Fire Service, the blaze was put out in an hour. By then, Ravikant’s mother Usha (40), aunts Lalsa (35) and Santara (30), brother Shashikant (20) and his cousin Khushi (6) succumbed to the burns. His father Surender (45) and relatives Jitendra (21) and Guddu (23) suffered injuries.
All the victims were rushed to the hospital, where six of them succumbed during treatment. DCP (southeast) Romil Baaniya said the cause of the fire is believed to be a gas leak. “There was no blast but the fire spread in the house soon. A case under section 304A and 285 has been registered and a probe is on,” said Baaniya, adding that Jitendra was discharged on Tuesday while Surender, Guddu and Ravikant are recuperating.
“The house was packed with relatives. Now everything, including dresses and jewellery for the wedding, is gone,” said a relative.