Four minors were killed when a fire broke out at two huts in a slum cluster at Mohammadpur Jharsa village near Kherki Daula on the outskirts of Gurgaon on Friday night.
The children who died in the fire have been identified as Kanchan (10), her brothers Rohit (6) and Mohit (3), and cousin Kusum (13). Two others were critically injured in the incident, which occurred while the victims were asleep.
The fire department remained clueless about the incident until it was too late. Fire safety officer Balbir Sharma said they were intimated about the incident only around 5 am, but the flames had already been doused by then.
The cause of the blaze had not been ascertained until reports last came in.
Police said the fire broke out around 12.30 am while the families of one Kripal and his brother-in-law, Balesh, were fast asleep. The four children were charred to death before Balesh could even wake up and sound the alarm.
Kripal and Santoshi – the parents of Kanchan, Rohit and Mohit – sustained injuries. Balesh and others in the locality managed to rescue the couple as well as their 16-day-old infant, who was sleeping with them.
Kherki Daula assistant sub-inspector Mohammad Shareef, who is investigating the case, said the four children died before police reached the spot. “Kripal and his wife are undergoing treatment at Safdarjung hospital, where their condition is said to be critical,” he added.
A team of senior police and district administration officials, including deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash, reached the accident site in the wee hours of Saturday to take stock of the situation. “We are trying to identify the cause of the fire,” said Shareef.
Kripal and Balesh – hailing from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaon district – work as tillers at a nearby farm, police said.