Eight members of a family had a narrow escape when a hanging electric wire fell on their house at Sitaram Bazaar in Central Delhi on Tuesday morning.
For close to five hours, the Parchas were left to defend themselves, as there was allegedly no help from the police or the fire department.
The fire allegedly started due to a short circuit in an electric wire above the house’s kitchen around 7 a.m. in the congested by-lanes of Sitaram Bazaar.
The fire destroyed almost everything that the joint family of eight owned.
“My elder son, his wife and their two children, Vanshu (2) and Vanshika (1), were sleeping in the kitchen when the fire broke out,” said Rani Parcha (in her 50s).
She was sleeping in the next room, which is separated from the kitchen by a single, thin wall. Her youngest son, Ashu Parcha (20), said, “The faulty wire caught fire after some sparks started coming from it due to the early morning drizzle.”
“This wire got detached from the pole, got stuck to an iron ventilation grille above the kitchen door and damaged all the electrical appliances in the kitchen.”
The family alleged that frantic phone calls to the fire department, the local BSES office and police served little purpose. The neighbours came to their rescue.
“The women kept calling the authorities as the men first rescued the children and then whatever we could hold without burning our own skin,” Ashu Parcha said.
A melted ceiling fan, clothes reduced to ashes and a burnt washing machine, mixer-grinder and television were all that the Parcha household’s four male members and neighbours could salvage after they finally managed to put out the fire around 9 am.
They alleged inaction and neglect on the part of the local BSES office before and after the incident.
“BSES officials reached the spot five hours after the fire broke out. We had to go to their office ourselves and get them here,” he said.
“And for more than a year we have been requesting them to replace the wire.”
A senior BSES official, who did not wish to be named, said, “It was an accident.”
“The wire did catch fire and fell but on some flammable object in the house’s balcony and not on the iron grille.”
The police said they did not receive any call for help and thus, no case was registered.