BENGALURU: A 24-year-old shopkeeper suffocated to death after an accidental fire broke out in a scrapyard in Shamanna Garden in Byatarayanapura on Tuesday. Residents tried to douse the fire, but it spread all over the premises within a few minutes.The deceased has been identified as Kaleem Pasha. He was running a mobile accessories shop in the building in the ground floor, which was also gutted in the fire. Kaleem used to live on the first floor along with his parents.
A senior police officer said the incident occurred around 1.15pm, when the fire broke out in a scrapyard adjacent to Kaleem’s house. Mohammed Kadeer Basha, owner of the scarpyard, also stocked clothes in the yard and it caused the fire to spread fast. Kaleem, who was sleeping, died as smoke filled up his room and asphyxiated him.
However, the fire did not reach his room. After the locals failed, the fire and emergency personnel rushed to the spot and doused the fire. The exact cause for the mishap is yet to be ascertained, but eyewitnesses said some locals were standing next to the scrapyard and smoking cigarettes. The owner of the yard escaped after the incident. The police are now searching for him.
Venkatesh HG, an auto driver who witnessed the incident, told The New Indian Express, “I came to the terrace after having a bath and noticed the fire in the neighbouring street. Some locals were shouting and I immediately called the fire and emergency service who rushed to the spot. Some of the neighbours ran out of their house as a precaution. The scrapyard owner had stocked some chemicals which had caused the huge fire. The fire personnel, along with five fire tenders, were pressed into the service”.
Shakila Begum, Pasha’s mother told TNIE, “Around 12.30pm, he called me to the shop and asked me to sit for a while as he was having a headache. He went to sleep and I was taking care of the shop. When fire broke out, I screamed that my son is asleep. No one was able to get inside the house due to thick smoke which was spread all over. After a while, he was found unconscious and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead. My elder son Nadeem was out for bike repair work, while my two daughters had gone to school.” The deceased’s father Badashah, a street vendor, said, “In the afternoon, I was informed about the incident by my wife and I reached the hospital. We were looking for a bride for Kaleem and he was taking care of us.”