Five members of a family, including a couple and their six-month-old daughter, died of suffocation after a fire broke out in their two-storey house at Geet Vihar in Mayawati Colony under Indira Nagar police station area of Lucknow early on Wednesday.
Police said there was no burn mark on the bodies. The family was running a wholesale business of home appliances and the ground floor of the house was used as a warehouse to store gas stoves, gas lighters and pressure cookers.
The deceased are Sumit Singh (30), his wife Julie Singh (28), their six-month-old daughter Baby, Sumit’s sister Vandana Singh (25) and cousin Dablu Singh (26). Sumit and his father, TR Singh, who was away in their native place, Pratapgarh, to attend a function, were running the wholesale business.
According to the fire department personnel, prima facie it appears that the fire started from the ground floor following a short circuit and burning of the appliances caused thick smoke inside the first floor where the family was staying.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered an inquiry by Anil Garg, Commissioner, Lucknow division, and asked him to submit a report in a week.
Local residents alleged that delay by the fire department caused the death of the family members. They said fire tenders reached the spot late and the firemen were not properly equipped.
“Around 1.30am, I heard a loud noise and I rushed out of my house. The electricity board on the ground floor of Sumit’s house had caught fire and it was spreading fast. We tried alerting the family by shouting, making phone calls and throwing stones on their window. But we did not get any response. We called up the fire station and three fire tenders reached the spot around 3am. In the meantime, we tried to enter the house but flames and smoke had engulfed the entire premises,” said Manish Yadav, a neighbour.
“The fire was so intense that the wings of ceiling fans on the ground floor melted. Two motorcycles parked on the ground floor also exploded. The fire brigade response was delayed and they even reached the place without proper equipment,” said Sushil Sahni, another neighbour.
Lucknow Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Vijay Kumar Singh, denied the allegations and claimed that the first fire tender reached the spot within 15 minutes of getting the call and they were all properly equipped.
“We got the call at 2.46am. We rushed two tenders from Indira Nagar, one from Gomti Nagar and two from Hazratganj. The first three reached there around 3am. We sent another fire tender from Bakshi Ka Talab station, a water browser and a water mist from Chowk station. We took out the first four bodies from one room by 4am, while the body of Vandana was removed by 6am. The fire was completely doused by 7am with the help of eight fire tenders and around 50 personnel,” the CFO added.
Prima facie it appears that the fire started due to a short circuit on the ground floor and spread to the first floor. Appliances worth lakh of rupees were destroyed, he added.
Lucknow commissioner Anil Garg, who would conduct an inquiry, said, “We will look into all aspects, including the circumstances and cause of the incident. We will also look into the allegations that there was a delay by the fire department.”