The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gas leak fire burns mother, children

A mother and her two children died early on Saturday when they were caught in a fire at their Belghoria residence on Friday night. According to police, the fire was caused due to a leakage in their cooking gas cylinder. Tapati Das, 28, and her two daughters Ipsita, 6, and Baby, 2, were admitted to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital where they succumbed to their injuries.

Unable to bear the shock, the father of the two children fell ill and had to be admitted at a nursing home in central Calcutta. The doctors later declared his condition to be stable.

After conducting a spot investigation, police said the drawing room where the cylinder was kept had caught fire and the window panes were smashed. “The cylinder was intact. But much of the gas had spread because of the leakage,” said an official of the Belghoria police station. Police, however, ruled out chances of foul play behind the incident and said it was an accident.

According to the statement given by Ipsita before her death, she, along with her mother and sister, was watching television in the drawing room. “My mother went to put on the switch of our toilet carrying Baby in her lap. Soon, there was a loud noise and I can’t remember anything more,” Ipsita told doctors.

Swapan Das, a local youth who reached the house on hearing the noise, said: “The drawing room was in flames.” Deepankar Bose, a next-door neighbour who had joined Das, said: “I tried to enter the room, but failed. We started sprinkling water into the room through the windows. We had to fight for 15 minutes to douse the flames.” By then, Tapati’s husband Prabir had reached the spot.

“I left home around 5.30 pm and till then there was no smell of gas in the room. I reached my house and saw flames coming out of the drawing room,” he recalled, lying on a bed of the nursing home. Prabir and his neighbours hospitalised all the injured. The two-year-old died after a few minutes. “Ipsita succumbed to her injuries early in the morning while her mother died around 6 am,” said an officer.

A post-mortem of all the deceased was conducted at Nilratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital on Saturday. But there was no one to receive the bodies. “We have informed both Prabir and Tapati’s parents who reside in Tripura. They will arrive here tonight,” said a neighbour.

Developer dies: D. Ghosh, chairman of Bengal Peerless Housing Development Company and a government nominee on the board of the joint sector housing company, died at Peerless Hospital on Saturday morning. He was 65.

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