HYDERABAD: Seven persons, including four children and two women, were charred to death and about 100 families rendered homeless when fire destroyed their settlement of huts at Gundla Pochampally village in Medchal mandal at the outskirts of Hyderabad. The fire, which broke out around 12.30 p.m. Saturday spread over a one-acre area in a few seconds, destroying everything in its path. By the time fire safety personnel could reach from the nearest fire station, almost 15 kilometres away, all that was left was smoke emanating from smoldering homes and the cries of those who had lost their loved ones and hardearned possessions.
The settlement, located at a secluded place around 100 metres away from the apartment sites being developed by Trident Properties, was mainly inhabited by migrant construction workers. Most of them were away at work, leaving only children and the elderly at home. Those who died in the fire include Anchal (1), Triveni (2), Vishal (3), Khaja (8), Ranjita (35), Tayappa (35) and Balibi (80).
Fire personnel could not be of much help due to the distance of the fire station and by the time they arrived, everything was reduced to ashes, said Anjaneylu who claims to be the owner of the land. Rangareddy district fire officer C Mohan Reddy said that the nearest fire station was in Jeedimetla but added: “The huts were built of bamboo and tarpaulin, which responded quickly to the fire,” he added.
The temporary sheds had been provided to the migrant labourers by the construction company Oorjitha Trident.
“All the huts were reduced to ashes within 2-3 minutes. There were around 300 people living in 102 huts,” said Abdul Hameed, MRO, Medchal mandal.