Guwahati: Two children of a family died on Thursday when a fire, caused possibly by a short circuit, engulfed their house at Beltola area in the city, police said.
The fire caused an LPG cylinder to explode and engulfed the first floor of the house so fast that none could enter it to rescue the two boys who were in a room there, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Basistha) Punnam Pegu said.
The two boys, who were siblings, were aged seven and four years and were together in a room. The boys' grandmother was in the ground floor and their parents were away.
The family was planning to celebrate the birthday of their younger son, Evan Goswami, on Thursday. However, a pall of gloom descended on the family the charred remains of Evan and his brother, Ishan, were taken to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where they were pronounced dead.
“The bodies were recovered with almost 80% burns. We are investigating, but prima facie, it appears that a short circuit might have led to the fire,” said Guwahati Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta.
The ACP said the raging fire prevented labourers who were repairing the house to enter it. It was doused by fire engines.
Witnesses said they heard the two children crying for help even as locals called for the fire department and ambulance. Neighbours said the firefighters could not get do much as the house was “destroyed in 10 minutes”.
“We heard a loud blast and the sound of bricks crumbling, the children were shouting, but we thought they must be playing. When we stepped out, we saw the entire house was engulfed in flames. Smoke was billowing from the first floor. We called for the fire brigade and ambulance, others in the neighbourhood also tried, but nothing much could be done. Everything was over in 10 minutes,” said a neighbour.
Pegu said the bodies of the two brothers were found on an iron bedstead in a room on the first floor. "The two boys were found hugging each other even in their death. It was a very tragic scene for us," she said.
All the wooden furniture, the doors and windows of the rooms of the first floor of the two-storeyed house were destroyed by the blaze. All that could be found were two bicycles parked in the ground floor and a half-burnt photo album of the family.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed his regret over the tragedy and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family. He also directed the deputy commissioner of Kamrup Metropolitan to inquire into the incident.
(With inputs from PTI)