Four children killed in Bengal slum fire

Thursday, December 30, 2010

KOLKATA - Four children were killed and 70 shanties were destroyed early Thursday after a fire, lit to keep people warm, spread through a slum in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, officials said.

“Four charred bodies of children aged between six-10 years were recovered from the gutted shanties early Thursday. The bodies were handed over to the police and later sent to hospital for autopsy,” director of state fire and emergency services department Gopal Bhattacharya said.

“We suspect that the parents of the children ran away for their own safety leaving them behind after the fire broke out. The children got trapped and died from severe burns,” he said.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that some people lit a fire to keep themselves warm during the cold night. The fire spread rapidly with the wind and engulfed the shanties made of highly inflammable material,” Bhattacharaya told IANS over phone.

According to fire officials, the fire broke out at 16 Bigha slum along side the railway track near Santoshpur area of the district. Six fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames, but it took a few hours as the area was very congested and the tenders could not be taken to the spot.

“At least 70 shanties were completely gutted,” said Debashish Banerjee, an officer at the Maheshtala police station.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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