Panchkula woman charred to death, another battles for life

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Panchkula
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2016 15:23 IST
(Left to right) Deceased Kamlesh, Manjot, who suffered 90% burns and Namrata. (HT Photo)

A 55-year-old woman was found charred to death in her drawing room and one of her daughters-in-law is struggling for life with 90% burns at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) after a major fire broke out at their residence in Sector 12 on Wednesday morning. The second daughter-in-law of the deceased is admitted to Alchemist Hospital in Sector 21 with 15% burns.

Police and forensic experts at the Sector-12 house in Panchkula on Wednesday. (Sant Arora/HT Photo)

There were five people at the house — the deceased Kamlesh, Manjot, 32, who suffered 90% burns, Namrata, 28, the second daughter-in-law, infant granddaughter Hiya and a maid — when the fire broke out at around 10am, witnesses have told the police. The cause of the fire is yet to be established , a forensic team that visited the site told the media.

Kamlesh’s husband Amrit Lal runs a flour mill in Industrial Area, Chandigarh. The couple’s sons, Sumit and Ajay, are into the construction business. Lal said he left the house for office around 9.30am, while his sons left around 9am.

The maid, who escaped unhurt, has claimed that she was playing with the child in the kitchen garden of the house.

Witness account

The neighbour’s driver Krishan spotted Manjot, engulfed in flames, first rush out of the house engulfed in flames, crying for help. He had told the police that he, along with another maid, tried to save her by putting a piece of cloth and soil on her.

Soon, Namrata also rushed out. The duo were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. However, no one seemed to know the whereabouts of Kamlesh.

Deceased found in drawing room

The family patriach Lal reached the house after Krishan informed his driver Virender Sharma about the incident. The fire brigade was then called in.

“Our office received the call around 10.15am and reached the spot in a few minutes. The fire was put out soon,” said station fire officer Rajbir Singh.

As even till this time, Kamlesh was missing, the firemen gained access to the house by breaking open a window amidst the smog of smoke. After they gained access, Kamlesh was found dead in the drawing room. She was declared brought dead at General Hospital, Sector 6.

It was surprising that Kamlesh, a yoga trainer, had not tried to escape when the fire broke out. The fire caused extensive damage to the house with the walls of drawing room and kitchen turning black. The false ceilings helped in spreading the fire. At two places on the walls, blood stains have been found.

Forensic expert Riti Saini who visited the house said they had taken samples of the burnt material in the house and the wiring. “I can comment on the cause of the fire only after we examine the evidence,” she said, adding that portions of the false ceiling might have been shattered, causing injuries.

Sector-5 SHO Lalit Kumar also said that the cause of the fire was yet to be established.

“We will wait for post-mortem reports, before any foul play can be ruled out. Manjot was in the kitchen, adjoining the drawing room where Kamlesh was present, while Namrata was in her bedroom. Manjot has recorded her statement before the magistrate,” he said.

On November 10, 2015, ten people were killed in two cylinder blasts at Himshikha Colony in Pinjore. Six houses were gutted 35 people were injured.

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