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Two children charred in morning blaze

Raxaul, March 30: Two toddlers — Aspiya (3) and Alpiya (2) — were charred to death today when their hutment in Tumariya Tola of Raxaul caught fire around 10am.

A dozen houses were gutted in the fire at the East Champaran district’s sub-divisional town, around 210km north of Patna.

The two kids were daughters of Mukhtar Alam, a carpenter. According to his neighbour Sartaz Miyan, Mukhtar’s wife Fatimi forgot to extinguish burning coal left behind in a hearth and it led to the fire.

Mukhtar and his wife were out on work and the kids were asleep when the fire engulfed the house. With strong westerly winds blowing, the fire spread rapidly and gutted around a dozen houses, residents said.

The houses were reduced to ashes before residents could react to the emergency. “All attempts to save the kids proved futile,” Sartaz said.

A fire tender of Indian Oil Corporation reached the site within 15 minutes but by then Mukhtar’s house was completely gutted.

Raxaul sub-divisional magistrate Sayeeda Khatoon rushed to the fire site and gave necessary directions to her subordinates regarding relief distribution among the fire victims.

She also confirmed the loss of two infants’ life in the incident. She said the families would get financial assistance for their rehabilitation.

She told The Telegraph: “Besides providing immediate financial help to the victims, we would give them other necessary support.”

This was the second major fire in Raxaul in the past two days and the seventh in the district in the past week. Around 300-400 houses have been gutted in the fires and many were left homeless.

Nearly 100 houses were reduced to ashes when a fire broke out in Ambedkar Nagar area early on Friday.

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