Four members of a family including a seven-month-old baby girl were charred to death in a devastating fire at Gadan village in Tehsil Bhagwah in Doda district.
"A residential house caught fire on Tuesday (at 4.30 am) in which Abdul Rasheed (55) son of Rusla Butt, his wife Fata Bagem (50), daughter-in-law Mubeena (22) and his toddler grand-daughter (7 months old) were charred to death," a police official said.
Besides loss of human lives, 20 cattle including 13 sheep, four bulls and three cows were also burnt alive in the devastating fire, he said.
Villagers said a group of people who were going for morning prayers noticed the flames and raised an alarm. "The villagers made desperate attempt to douse the flames but failed to control the fire," they said.
The villagers said that the owner of the house had dumped dry fodder adjacent to his house "which may have caught fire."
As Gadan is a far-off village—about 25 km from Doda town—the fire tenders could not reach the location in time, sources said.
"The exact cause of fire has not been established yet as investigation is going on. As of now we gave Rs 10,000 to the only surviving member of the family (Nasir Ahmed) and also provided a Tent, five Blankets and Kitchen essentials from Red Cross Fund as instant help," said DDC DodaBhupinder Kumar.
Meanwhile, people of Gadan and adjoining villages expressed strong resentment against the failure of administration to press fire-tenders into service in time. "Early early help could have saved some lives," they said.