RAIPUR: A car was engulfed in flames in Chhattisgarh after rats and mice are believed to have chewed the protective insulation of wires fitted in the vehicle's fuse box which led to a short circuit.
The incident took place in Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh. Police said the owner Vishnu Sahu saw his Maruti Van on fire in the wee hours of Wednesday but the damage had already been done by then. Jashpur is around 300 km north-east of Raipur.
“The car seemed to have caught fire due to a short circuit in the vehicle’s engine. It was on flames, which was initially seen in the morning by passersby. They tried to alert the owner but he was fast asleep," the police said.
The vehicle was parked on the porch of his house at Tapkara Colony.
"Rodents are a menace here. They have chewed up and damaged the wirings of other appliances too. The car was in perfect condition till the rats damaged the insulated wires leading to short circuit," Sahu said.
Though the police have filed a case and begun an investigation, they have not ruled out the rodent angle.
Several experts believe that rodents are the culprits in around one-fourth of all fires which start from unknown sources.
An automotive technician said that once the insulation cover that protects the devices from becoming too hot gets nibbled by rodents, the hot metal is left exposed. This leaves the vehicle at strong risk of a short circuit that can lead to a fire. "Had there been any more delay, the fire would have even damaged a part of our house," Sahu said.