A massive fire broke out at a slum cluster in northeast Delhi’s Usmanpur on Saturday night, choking to death three children, injuring five others and burning down several huts.
Officials of Delhi Fire Services said the fire broke out around 11.30pm and they rushed eight fire tenders to the spot immediately.
The three dead children were identified as Reena, 10, Meena, 8, and six-month-old Mubarak.
“We received a call reporting the fire around 11.30pm and immediately dispatched eight fire tenders to the spot. The huts in the slum are so closely built that it did not take much time for the blaze to spread throughout the colony. The children were trapped in the fire and we believe they died due to choking rather than burns,” said a senior fire official.
Delhi Police officers said that preliminary investigations suggest that the fire was caused due to a short circuit, which later led to three gas cylinder blasts. A complete investigation, however, is underway to ascertain the exact cause of the fire.
“We rushed the children to a nearby hospital, where the doctors declared two of them dead on arrival. I was then praying for my eight-year-old daughter to at least survive. But within an hour or so, I lost her as well. I do not know if I will ever be able to get over this tragedy,” Kallu Ram, the father of the kids, told Hindustan Times.
A 12-year-old boy, identified as Shahkhudin, who sustained 50% burns and was rushed to the hospital along with the three children, has been admitted and is receiving treatment.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson, Swati Maliwal, on Sunday visited the slum cluster and promised action.
“I will take this up incident up with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and seek compensation for the kin of the victims,” said Maliwal.