Five persons of a family, including two children, were burnt alive in a lift in an apartment that caught fire here past Thursday midnight.
The mishap happened when the Siriya family staying on the first floor in the ill-fated Ajinkya Plaza building in Gokulpeth area of the city decided to use lift to get down to the ground floor after the security guard, Lakhiram, came rushing in to inform them about fire breaking out in the parking area of the building.
The only male member in the lift, Prashant Siriya (33), reportedly opted out of the lift to avoid overcrowding and asked the other members to get down at the ground floor. When the lift reached the ground floor, it malfunctioned and didn’t open. By the time, the floor was engulfed in fire. The five persons could not come out and were charred to death.
Prashant, meanwhile, reportedly jumped out of an apartment window.
Names of the deceased were Prashant’s wife Ragini Siriya (32), son Nirosh Siriya (3), mother Salila Siriya (65), sister Shruti Mali (30) and her daughter Shahana (2).
The building has 14 flats – 12 of them occupied. Rest all in the other apartment managed to escape to safety themselves or with help from the3 Fire Brigade.
Reason for the fire is suspected to be a two-wheeler, which is believed to have caught fire first. The Fire Brigade, however, didn’t confirm the same.
Some questions, however, were left unanswered. When the standing instruction is not to use lift in case of emergencies, why did the Siriyas choose to use it? When the fire had broken out in the parking lot, why did they decide to go downstairs in the lift?
Deputy Commissioner of Police Avinash Kumar said, “all these issues are under investigation. The man is in deep shock and we haven’t asked him any questions yet.”
Budget earmarked Rs 3.40 crore for the Nirbhaya Fund, to be used for the upkeep of security of women.