At least four children of a family were burnt to death after mounds of paddy husk accidentally caught fire on Saturday morning at Barjo village, about 60km from Giridih district headquarters, in Jharkhand.
Aged between three and five years, the children lived together in a joint family. The kids were playing amid the bundles of paddy husk kept on the second floor of the two-storey house belonging to local farmer Khalid Ansari, when the fire broke out around 10.30am.
The reason behind the fire is yet to be established, and police have begun a probe into the mishap. Giridih superintendent of police Kranti Kumar Gadidesi said preliminary enquiry suggested the fire could have been caused by a cooking stove that had been kept turned on.
The deceased were identified as Md Tahir (5) and Jakir (3), sons of Md Manjur Alam; Kitabun (4), daughter of Allauddin; and Marnit (3), daughter Md Sarfaraj.
"We tried to rescue the children from the fire but it took us an hour before we could reach out to them," said Safdar Ali, the mukhiya of Barjo village, who was also an eye witness to the tragedy.