A six-year-old boy died and over 100 huts were gutted — leaving scores homeless — after a fire broke out in a slum in Gurgaon’s DLF Phase I a little after 3 am on Monday. Fire department officials said they received a call about the fire around 3.30 am and rushed four fire tenders to the spot. “Three of the tenders returned around 6 am after dousing the fire but one was kept at the spot till 10 am as a precautionary measure,” said an official. The only casualty was identified as six-year-old Farman, the son of a labourer. Eyewitnesses claimed the child was sleeping in a hut with his brother and grandparents when the fire broke out, and was killed when the hut collapsed on top of him, even as his family struggled to rescue him.
“The body has been sent for postmortem, and we are trying to ascertain the cause of the fire,” said inspector Devender Kumar, SHO, DLF Phase I police station. Scattered tin roofs, broken utensils, and black ash were all that remained of the cluster later in the day. “A forensic team visited the spot and collected samples, which have been sent for testing. We should have more clarity on the matter once we get the report,” Kumar said. Devi, 40, a resident of the slum who works as a domestic help in Gurgaon, said, “We have lost all our life’s savings because of this fire. We had no time to take anything. We will have to start from scratch now.”
Residents of the huts refused to leave the spot and take shelter in a school that was being offered to them as temporary relief, saying they preferred to remain together in the area where their homes once stood. “Since people refused to move, we have set up a relief camp in the same area. Tents are being put up and we have arranged for food, water and clothes as well,” said Shyam Sunder, secretary of the district Red Cross Society. The family of the deceased has been given Rs 1 lakh by the District Welfare Society.