Baby, granny charred to death
A burnt fan, some clothes, a steel tumbler, a few toys, kitchen utensils and a few other articles were what left in the hut which was gutted. A 70-year-old woman and her 18-month-old grandson, who was tied to the cot with a piece of cloth, were charred to death in Adambakkam, here on Saturday.
The family of Kandeepan,(40), a native of Karunguli village in Gingee taluk of Villupuram distirct, his mother Lakshmi, (70), brother Loganathan, wife Devika, and second child Dhanush,(2), had their breakfast together around 9 am, at their hut they had occupied since February last to work in the adjacent under construction site in New Colony 10th Street in Adambakkam.
The family, except the eldest and the youngest, went to work in the nearby construction site. Kandeepan, who was the mason, was working from the scaffolding put up in the first floor balcony portion of the building, when felt unusual radiance of heat from the vacant plot where their hut was located. He moved to the edge of the scaffolding to find the entire hut ablaze around 10.30 am. He jumped down after he heard his mother who could barely walk and son screaming for help. Since the blaze was high, he could not enter the hut while Devaki and Loganathan joined him. The trio’s scream alerted the neighbourhood who in turn called up the control room which alerted Adambakkam police Station, barely 50 m away.
Meanwhile, Gopalakrishnan, a retired bank employee and neighbour, with the help of his family members poured about three barrels of water on the hut and doused the fire completely before the Guindy Fire Tender turned up at the spot.
“We heard the screams and came out of the house. By that time, the hut was half-way burnt. We tried our best to put out the fire. The kid’s father attempted to get into the hut, but the blaze deterred him. The grandma and the grandson were charred to death,” Gopalakrishnan said.
An inconsolable Devaki was seen lamenting for hours after the private ambulance service moved the charred bodies to Chromepet Government Hospital for post-mortem. She kept blaming herself for tying his son to the cot to deter him from leaving the hut. Kandeepan who sustained burns in the hands and legs was admitted to the government hospital for treatment. Shanthi, another neighbour, said that they could not come to terms with what had happened to Devaki’s family as they had routinely seen Devaki and her son playing in front of the vacant plot in the evening since they moved in here.
The fire was suspected to have spread from the hearth which was not properly putout after cooking breakfast, in the open a few feet away from the hut, according to the police.