11 charred to death in Bhoiguda godown fire in Secunderabad

All victims were from Bihar, they died of asphyxiation & burns as there was no exit point except a staircase 

Published: 24th March 2022 03:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2022 03:43 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purpose only.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Eleven migrant workers from Bihar were charred to death when a major fire broke out in a scrap godown at Bhoiguda in Secunderabad in the wee hours of Wednesday. Their co-worker Prem Kumar managed to escape from the inferno and is now undergoing treatment at Gandhi Hospital. As there were no other entry or exit points to the first floor except a staircase, which was already in flames, the workers could not escape, and died of asphyxiation and burns. Their bodies were beyond the scope of recognition. However, the officials later managed to identify them with the help of relatives and friends.

As the fire raged, people in the vicinity heard the loud noise of LPG cylinders exploding. The workers, who belonged to Saran, Kathiar and adjoining districts in Bihar, were provided accommodation in the first floor of the G+1 building. They used to handle all types of scrap and were engaged in unloading, sorting, segregating, packing and loading the scrap for transportation. The Police and Fire Department personnel are trying to figure out how the fire started — whether it was due to leaked LPG catching fire or electric short circuit. A case has been registered against scrap godown Sravan Traders’ owner Dhoki Sampath Kumar under Sections 304A and 337 of the IPC. 

City Police Commissioner CV Anand, who visited the godown along with senior police officials, said the deaths occurred as all the victims were crammed into one godown, which was against the rules.“It looks like smoke had engulfed them. Fire safety measures will be reviewed by the departments concerned. Investigation has already begun. The police are looking into all angles and also finding out the cause of the fire,” he said. “The place where the godown is located is surrounded by several timber depots, which is quite risky from the safety point of view. We will apprise the government about this,” he added.

A firefighter douses the flames at a scrap godown in Bhoiguda (Above) The body of a victim being shifted from the accident spot

Meanwhile, the Fire Department officials said that fire could have spread rapidly due to the presence of highly combustible material in large quantities in the godown. The fire could not be tamed or put down because there was no fire safety mechanism in place at the godown. When the fire broke out, local residents alerted the police and Fire Department who rushed along with the GHMC and power utility officials to the accident spot to rescue those trapped inside the building.

Eight fire tenders from across the city were pressed into service and the fire which broke at around 3.30 am was brought under control by around 7.30 am. Meanwhile, hundreds of migrant labourers from Bihar, who were working in different parts of the city, thronged the spot. Dwarika Ram, who works at Amberpet, told Express that he knew most of the victims. “Three of them belong to our village, Bangalipatti. Two others are from Amnour,” he said.

Raju Ojha of city-based Bihar Samaj Seva Sangh said that all the victims went to their native places during the lockdown and returned to the city around 15 months ago. “They were all from very poor background. We want justice for their families and we also urge the government to ensure that such incidents do not recur. There is a need to create safe working conditions for the migrant workers as well as local labourers,” he said. 

Bodies of Victims to be flown to Bihar 
Based on a complaint from Prem Kumar, the survivor, police registered a case. The bodies of the victims will be flown in three flights to Bihar for final rites


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