Three children of a migrant family were charred to death at Sherpur Kalan near Focal Point here on Saturday morning as their one-room dwelling caught fire owing to leakage in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder.
Their elder sister Kajal (9) suffered 60% burns and was admitted to civil hospital. She tried to save her siblings, but to no avail, and jumped out of the window. She was later shifted to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, in a critical condition.
The deceased have been identified as Lado (1), her brother Krishna (4), and sister Anita (5). Their mother Sunita escaped unhurt as she ran out of the room as the cylinder caught fire. Their sister Neetu (3), who was in the bathroom, also escaped unhurt.
The incident took place as Sunita was busy cooking. Her husband Ramesh Kumar, a factory worker, had left for work at a factory. Monti, a neighbour, said Sunita was busy cooking at their rented accommodation at Gurdeep da Vehra (labour quarters) at Sherpur, while her children -- Kajal, Lado, Krishna and Anita -- were sleeping, and another child Neetu was in the bathroom.
As Anita shifted the stove aside to make way for utensils, the gas pipe at the cylinder end got detached. The gas leaked from the cylinder and caught fire. The flames engulfed the room in no time. Sunita said she came out of the room and cried for help. She tried to rescue the children trapped in the fire, but to no avail, she added.
People rushed to the spot and tried to douse the fire by throwing water on it. Ajay, a local, said the fire brigade took 45 minutes to reach and by that time they had doused the fire. The police also reportedly arrived late.
The family had shifted here from Uttar Pradesh around three years ago. Focal Point station house officer inspector Kawaljit Singh said the police would take appropriate action after consulting legal experts.