A 35-year-old man, his wife and four children died in a fire at their residence in Jamia Nagar in Southeast Delhi early Thursday. Though the cause of fire is yet unclear, circumstantial evidence and recovery of a kerosene jar have prompted the police to not rule out a case of suicide.
The dead were identified as Feroze Alam (35), his wife Yaseen (30), and four children Afreen (10), Afroz (9) Aamir (8) and Asif (5).
According to police, the incident was reported from Jamia’s densely populated Zakir Nagar area around 1.30 am on Thursday. A group of youngsters, who were on a late night stroll, saw smoke billowing from the balcony of Alam’s second floor flat and raised the alarm. Though neighbours tried knocking on Alam’s door, there was no response and they alerted the police control room.
Police reached the spot and broke open the door of the flat with help of neighbours. They found the charred bodies of the five while Asif was lying unconscious. The family was rushed to the hospital where Alam and Yasmeen were declared brought dead. Hours later, Afreen, Afroz and Aamir were also declared dead. Asif succumbed to burns on Thursday evening.
Police said Alam, who hailed from Vaishali in Bihar, was a construction worker who specialised in floor design and also sold embroidery machines. Alam’s relatives denied reports that he had killed his wife and children and then committed suicide. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Siddiqui, a relative of the family, said, “There is no reason why he would commit suicide. He was doing financially well. Recently, he had bought a house and was going to shift there in a few days. We do not know what happened.”
Neighbours claimed that they had suspected Alam to be depressed after his wife fell ill some months ago. “His wife had a tooth operation some months ago. Feroze claimed that the doctor had not performed the operation properly because of which his wife developed complications. His wife was a bit depressed in the past few months,” Amroz, a cousin of Alam, said.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Dr P Karunakaran said, “We are yet to come to a conclusion. It could be a short circuit which started the fire. There was a kerosene jar in the room. It is possible that the fire was spread with kerosene. Our investigation did not reveal the family having any financial problem. The CFSL team visited the spot. Detail will emerge after they complete their inquiry.”