Three members of a family were charred to death after the car they were travelling in burst into flames in east Delhi’s Akshardham Sunday, police said. Police said the vehicle was being driven was by Loni resident Upender Mishra, who was accompanied by his wife and three daughters.
His daughter Sidhi (3) sat in front, while his wife, Ranjana Mishra and daughters, Ridhi (6) and Nikki (one-and-a-half-years), sat behind.
According to firefighters who rushed to the spot, the blaze broke out in the CNG kit installed at the back of their Datsun Go car.
“When we got there, the fire had spread from the CNG kit to the back seat. The man and his daughter screamed for help… we used a crowbar to break the windshield and pulled them out,” said Santosh, Station Officer of Mandawali fire station. Local police took them away from the spot after they were rescued.
The family was on their way to Akshardham Mandir after the three girls asked their father to take them there. “We had all gone to Kalkaji Mandir. Then my daughters said they wanted to visit Akshardham temple as well. My wife and two daughters are dead. I still don’t know how my car burst into flames,” Upender said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (east) Pankaj Singh said police were informed of the fire via a PCR call, following which an entire team from the local police station, along with CATS ambulances and the Delhi Fire Services (DFS), were informed.
The DFS relayed the call to two fire stations — Geeta Colony and Mandawali — and more than 15 firefighters, including a Station Officer and Additional Division Officer, as well as 14 sub-officers and fire operators, were dispatched.
However, en route to the spot, the fire tenders got stuck in heavy traffic. Even as police tried to clear the bottlenceck, a huge crowd had gathered at the spot and tried to break open the doors of the car.
Sandeep, a passerby said, “The flames engulfed the back of the car. We tried to smash the windows by kicking and punching it. It was very difficult. The man in the driver’s seat (Upender) kept shouting and crying.”
Meanwhile, the Geeta Colony fire station then rushed a small water tender, which was able to manoeuvre through the traffic. “We left our water tender and ran towards the spot as well. Some of our firefighters carried the water hoses and started operations,” said Santosh.
By the time firefighters used two water hoses to put out the fire, the flames had engulfed the car. “There was no shouts coming from the woman and the children. They had already perished in the fire,” said V K Rai, a sub-officer from Geeta Colony fire station.
After the father and daughter were rescued and the fire was brought under control, the firefighters used a crowbar to pry open the doors. “We found the three bodies huddled together,” said Rai.