Five persons engaged as painters in a newly constructed house at New Gautam Nagar locality of the city suffered serious burns on Friday after combustible material caught fire. Three of the victims were in a critical condition.
After giving first-aid at the local civil hospital, they were referred to PGI, Chandigarh. Two of the victims, whose chances of survival were bleak, were taken by their attendants to a multi-specialty hospital on their way to Chandigarh.
The incident took place around 2 pm when six painters were at work. Some combustible material caused the fire while one of them went out and the rest were in a room.
As the victims screamed for help, their workmate rushed to their rescue and tried to douse the flames with a water pipe. People from the neighbourhood also rushed to the spot and took the injured to the civil hospital.
Suraj (18) of Sahri, Raju (35) of Bajwara and Jagjit (50) of Chhauni Kalan were charred beyond recognition. Jagan Nath (35) of Manan and Prem (40) of Bajwara, who as per doctors sustained 25-30% burns, also writhed in pain. They all were referred to the PGI in the hospital's non-AC ambulances but the former two were dropped at a private hospital on Chandigarh road. At the time of filing of the report Suraj, Raju and Jagjit were battling for life.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP city) Satish Kumar and station house officer (SHO) Amarnath inspected the site but were unable to arrive at any conclusion. “The fire could have been triggered by a short-circuit or a cigarette but it is not yet clear,” said Amarnath.
Owner of the house, Rakesh Kapoor, was not available for comments. Sources said he was in a state of shock and was admitted to hospital. The room where the fire broke out was damaged.
Local MLA Sunder Sham Arora, mayor Shiv Sood and many other political leaders visited the hospital but none extended any help to the affected families.