For a family of twelve in North Delhi festivities turned into mourning when three of the family members and a close family friend were charred to death and two other sustained severe burn injuries in a blast caused by a leaking cooking gas cylinder.
At the Singh household in New Chandarwal Nagar, the mood was joyous as it was the naming ceremony of 25-year-old Mohar Singh's newborn. Dinner was being prepared for guests and a music player was being installed when a cooking gas cylinder, kept near the door, started leaking and caught fire.
"It was the naming ceremony of my brother's daughter. I was in the bathroom when the incident took place. My brother and others got trapped inside. When my mother tried to help them she also caught fire," said little Laxmi, who saw her sister, niece and uncle dying in front of her eyes.
Singh, who's admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital with 25 per cent burns used to work with a nearby cloth merchant and his father Jagdish owns a small flour mill in the locality. Jagdish wasn't home when the incident took place.
"We tried to douse the fire ourselves as Fire Brigade took more than an hour to reach the spot. By the time they reached, damage was done," said Kishan Singh, a relative.
The police, however, claimed that narrow lanes and the staircase of the hugely populated three-storey building with more that 47 rooms and 150 residents made the rescue very difficult. "The injured were sent to the nearby Bara Hindu Rao hospital and then shifted to RML Hospital," said a senior police officer.