Woman, father killed in fire near Mecheda railway station
An octogenarian and his 42-year-old daughter were charred to death in a fire that started from their kitchen and then spread to 14 other homes near Mecheda railway station in East Midnapore in the early hours of Wednesday.
About 50 residents managed to get out of the houses in time, but the father and the daughter were trapped inside their hut.
The deceased were Gokul Kar, 80, and daughter Mallika Kar, 42.
Two fire engines rushed to the spot to douse the flames and were joined in the rescue effort by Kolaghat police.
After sealing the premises, the two charred bodies were sent to East Midnapore District Hospital for post-mortems.
Sanjay Guchait, who lived in one of the burnt houses, said he was asleep when he had heard screams around 5am.
“I woke up hearing the screams of ‘fire outside’. Somehow, I came out of the house and escaped,” said Guchait, a vegetable seller.
He added that his house had been there for around 30 years.
Fifteen families had lived in shanties made of tin, tiles and clapboards on government land.
“All our belongings and documents were destroyed in the fire,” said Guchait.
The police said the preliminary investigation suggested that the blaze had spread from the kitchen of the deceased duo’s house.
“The father was ailing and could not escape the fire even though he tried. His body was found along with his daughter with marks suggesting she had tried to help him out of the fire but in vain,” said an official.
Kolaghat police station officer-in-charge Imran Malla said: “Around 15 shanties near Mecheda railway bridge have been burnt. Two people died in the fire. As soon as we got the news, we rushed to the spot and started the rescue work. The bodies have been sent to the hospital.”