Thirteen people, including nine men and four women, were burnt to death and three others sustained burns in a fire that broke out at a cooperative society building where kerosene was being distributed at Bargi in Chhindwara district.
District collector JK Jain who confirmed the death toll said the incident took place between 4.30 and 5 pm.
“Kerosene was being distributed from a drum kept by the entrance door. As it was very hot outside, the people were standing in a queue inside the building. Somehow kerosene got spilt and it caught fire and spread to the kerosene drum, trapping the people inside the building,” the collector said. He added that one of the injured has been released after primary treatment and two others have been referred to Narsinghpur, an adjacent district.
An inquiry has been ordered into the incident and FIR was being lodged against those responsible, collector Jain said.
Agriculture minister Gauri Shankar Bisen who is the district in charge minister said the government has announced Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh to the injured. An additional Rs 10,000 would be given for last rites. He assured that the best of treatment would be given to those injured. Eyewitnesses said that some of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.