A 64-year-old man was charred to death at his grocery shop in Warriach market of Basti Jodhewal area in Ludhiana on Thursday.
The deceased was identified as Mahinder Pal (64).
Police said that prima facie, the fire started from incense sticks which he had lit in the morning at his shop. During the fire, the refrigerator in the shop also exploded as flames went out of control.
The local residents doused the flames and informed police. Police sent the body to civil hospital for postmortem and initiated an investigation.
According to the eyewitnesses, Pal opened his grocery shop at 7 am. Minutes after opening, flames emerged from the shop and the fridge exploded. The intensity of the blast was so high that the refrigerator was blown away and it fell outside the shop.
Pal did not get a chance to come out. The eyewitnesses said that they tried to control the flames with buckets of water and informed the fire brigade. The firefighters controlled the flames within 20 minutes but by then Pal had already died.
Police said that as per Gagan, son of the deceased, his father was a heart patient and a diabetic. His father used to open the shop in the morning, offer prayers and light incense sticks in the shop. Gagan suspected that the incense sticks could have fallen on the sacks containing raw grocery items and that could have sparked the fire.
Inspector Gurmukh Singh, SHO Basti Jodhewal police station, said that on the basis of the statement of Gagan, inquest proceedings were initiated under Section 174 of CrPC.