Class 10 student killed in a fire at Dadar police colony
Mumbai A 16-year-old girl was killed in a fire that broke out in a three-storey residential building inside the Dadar Police Colony on Sunday around 1.15 pm. No other casualties were reported in the blaze, the cause of which is not yet known.
The Mumbai fire brigade, however, found an empty water bottle smelling of kerosene near the body.
The victim, Shravani Chavan, was alone in her third-floor home, which, according to witnesses, was locked from outside and bolted from inside. The fire brigade removed a charred body from the fire and shifted her to Sion Hospital, where the doctors declared the Class 10 student of a Dadar convent school brought dead.
The flat in the Om Sai Ram building, one of the U-shaped police quarters inside the compound, was a one-room- kitchen home. The room was gutted completely, while the kitchen was relatively less damaged.
According to the fire brigade, the blaze is likely to have started from the room and also partially damaged two adjoining apartments.
According to chief fire officer P Rahangdale, “When the fire brigade arrived, they were told that the door was locked from outside.”
The police said they will question the family and all witnesses after the girl has been cremated. Shravani’s parents, younger brother and her grandmother were at a wedding at the time the fire broke out.
Her father, Ashok Chavan, is a head constable at Vakola police station.
A policeman, who is not a resident of the building, was the first to notice smoke emanating from a third-floor window and rushed to the third floor, alerting other residents on his way up.
Residents, who gathered outside the house, said the door was locked from outside and they were unsure if there was anyone inside the apartment.
Ramesh Utekar, a policeman who lives on the second floor, said, “It took us a few minutes to break open the lock. The door was latched from inside and locked from outside. We first broke a window and lots of smoke came out.”
When residents finally managed to open the door, they saw a body inside the room, and ran out in panic. They bolted the door to prevent the smoke escaping, and evacuated the entire building. By this time, the fire brigade had reached the spot.
A senior officer of the fire brigade said, “We recovered an empty drinking water bottle, which smelled of kerosene, from near the girl’s body. There is a possibility that a blast from an electrical appliance such as a television or refrigerator happened as well, which is why some heard small blasts.”
The fire brigade pressed four fire engines and three water tankers into action.
Diwakar Shelke, senior police inspector at Dadar police station, said, “We have registered a case of accidental death. Investigations will continue and further action will be taken based on the cause of the fire.”
The fire was reported at 1.41 pm and the fire brigade arrived at the spot by 1.50 pm. They managed to douse the fire by 3.35 pm.
“The girl was brought in dead at 3.40pm,” said Dr Mukesh Jha, assistant medical officer at Lokaniya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion. A post-mortem conducted on Sunday evening revealed that the body was “90% charred”.
“The cause of death was asphyxia and shock, followed by burns which could have contributed to her death, “ said Dr Rajesh Dhere, head of forensic medicine, Sion Hospital.
Dhere said they have preserved skin, hair and blood samples to check the source of inflammable liquid, which caused the burns.
The department was in the process of handing over the body to the family.