Four children between three and eight years old died after being trapped in a burning car filled with fireworks in Ghaziabad Sunday. The owner of the Alto and another minor child playing nearby were critically injured.
Rizwan, whose family owns a local fireworks business, had parked his car near his house in Farrukhnagar-Asalatpur village — a major cracker manufacturing hub — when his son Farhan (8), daughter Aksha (6), niece Sarika (3) and nephew Farhan (8) climbed in, turned on the music system and started listening to it.
The fireworks order was for a wedding in Delhi and Rizwan, 29, on his way to make the delivery, had just stopped for a change of clothes. He had left the car unlocked.
“While the children were inside, the fireworks caught fire and all four were engulfed in flames,” circle officer Vipin Tada said.
Hearing the explosions, Rizwan rushed out and tried to drag the children out of the burning car but it was too late. Farhan, Aksha and Sarika, daughter of Rizwan’s brother, were dead on the scene while Farhan, son of Rizwan’s cousin, died on his way to hospital, the police said.
Rizwan also sustained burn injuries, as did seven-year-old Krish, who was playing close to the car. Both have been hospitalised and their condition is stated to be critical.
Police said they were looking into various angles on how the fire could have started — from a short circuit to the children playing with the ‘cigarette lighter’ accessory on the dashboard.
The fire spread quickly and by the time neighbours managed to douse it, the Alto was a mangled heap of burnt metal.
“I was passing by with a friend when I heard the sounds of crackers going off in the car. One flew out and hit my friend, luckily, on his helmet. The fire was raging and we could do little to help the children,” said Naeem, a witness.
“Krish’s father has forwarded a complaint to the police and we have lodged an FIR against Rizwan for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, negligent conduct and under the Explosives Act. The bodies have been sent for post-mortem,” Tada said.