Five children, aged between 7 months and 12 years, burned to death in a fire that broke out inside their home in Govindnagar (Shantinagar), Bhiwandi, on Saturday night. The children’s mother, Sonkali Gupta, 39, who sustained 79% burns, is in critical condition.
The siblings have been identified as Priya, 12, Riya, 10, Nitin, 7, Priti, 5, and Nitesh (7 months old). Their father Mohanlal runs a 24-hour canteen in Govindnagar and was away when the fire broke out.
PI Subhash Divekar from Shantinagar police station said somewhere in the middle of the night on Saturday, there was a short circuit inside the house and a spark from it fell on a kerosene can kept nearby.
The can instantly caught fire and the fire spread rapidly inside the tiny house. Priya and Nitin were killed in the fire. On seeing flames coming out of the Guptas’ house, neighbours broke the door and tried to pull the children and mother to safety.
While it was too late for Priya and Nitin, neighbours took Sonkali, Riya, Priti and Nitesh to Civil Hospital. However, the three children succumbed to their burns within hours and their mother is in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Police said Mohanlal has been inconsolable ever since he heard the news.
Rishraj Raipopat, officer, Toranto Company (the MSEB franchise in Bhiwandi, Thane) said the incident took place inside the house so the Mahavitaran Company was in no way to blame. He said, “Our technical team inspected the site and the primary report states that the incident occurred inside the house. This could be because of a faulty apparatus or bad quality of the wiring.”