A woman and her son were charred to death in a fire incident at Haft Chinar area here on Sunday night.
At around 11 pm on Sunday night, 40-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh from Haft Chinar area here came out of his shabby two-storey plywood hutment after having dinner for a usual stroll. Little did he know that he would never be able to see his wife and their six-year-old son alive again.
Sheikh's wife, forty-year old Ajmeera and their minor son Mohammad Abbas were charred to death after an alleged short-circuit triggered a massive blaze late night on Sunday engulfing Sheikh's house besides five other residential structures nearby.
While two houses suffered partial damage, four including Sheikh's were completely reduced to ashes.
Eyewitnesses said that the short circuit took place at around 11:00 pm last night in the electric wire near the ground floor of Sheikh's house which also accommodates his shop on the ground floor igniting flames, which engulfed the whole structure within no time.
Seeing the massive flames all over his house, Sheikh rushed upstairs to rescue his family, but the powerful flames overwhelmed Sheikh rendering him too helpless to reach out to his family.
The moment I opened the door, a massive flame burst out from inside and burned my face. I tried hard to save them but failed," a sobbing Sheikh said.
Later the locals managed to evacuate the mother-son duo to SMHS Hospital Srinagar, but doctors there reportedly declared them brought dead.
Abdul Hamid Sheikh, another victim in the fire incident who works as a daily wager in Srinagar Municipal Corporation and sells barbecues at night to sustain the needs of his family, said that last night he heard a disturbing sound of a short circuit and opened his window to know what it was about.
"I opened the window and saw a flame rising from the wire and in no time it engulfed Ghulam Mohammad's house. I saw the flames moving to my own house and rushed to take out my family," Hamid recalled.
Although Hamid was able to save his family comprising his wife, three daughters and son, their house and belongings were reduced to ashes.
"Everything got destroyed by the fire. Even the pheran (the woolen robe worn by Kashmiris during winters) I am wearing is not mine, someone came and put it over me in the morning," Hamid said.
He said the valuable items including gold he had bought for his daughter's upcoming wedding were destroyed in the fire.
Besides, the blaze destroyed a few sewing machines and tailored garments by another of his daughters, he added.
The residents of the locality further alleged delay in the arrival of the fire tenders saying it took them around 30 minutes to reach the spot.
"Had they come a little early, a lot of damage could have been averted," a local said.
The locality comprising of families of lower strata demanded the administration to compensate the losses and to sponsor the construction of their houses.
Pertinently, the houses of Abdul Hamid Sheikh, Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, Tariq Ahmad Sheikh and Bashir Ahmad Sheikh were completely destroyed, while those of GhulamNabi Sheikh and Mehraj-ud-din suffered partial damage.
Meanwhile, Apni Party President Syed Mohammad AltafBukhari has expressed his profound condolences over the demise of mother-son duo.
In a statement Bukhari termed the hapless overnight fire as grievously unfortunate wherein various residential houses were gutted down to ashes.
"The fire incident is extremely heart-wrenching in which two precious souls were lost while leaving multiple houses devastated. I extend my deep sympathies with the families that have borne immense losses in this tragic event and pray for eternal peace to the departed souls," he observed.
He said that the families that face such tragedies have gone from riches to rags leaving the suffering families highly necessitous.
"The government should immediately dispatch relief teams to ground zero that will take stock of the situation. It's imperative that smooth dispersal of compensations be done on a prompt basis." he expressed. Apni Party District President Srinagar Noor Mohammad Sheikh also conveyed his sympathies to the suffering families while impressing on the district administration to ascertain the cause of fire.
"It's imperative for the district administration to step in and bring clarity to this nocturnal fire incident. However, in the meantime they must disperse the ex-gratia relief to these families on a prompt basis and provide appropriate temporary accommodations for them," Sheikh demanded.