Three members of a family, including a six-year-old girl, were charred to death in a fire that broke out in their house in Balaji Nagar near Tirupparankundram on Thursday.
The police identified the deceased as M. Ramamoorthy (37), Kanchana (30) and their daughter, Atchaya (6).
A loud explosion shocked residents of Lakshmi Street in Balaji Nagar around 3 a.m. “We were fast asleep when the sound of the blast woke us up. I ran out of my house and rushed towards a transformer thinking that it could have burst. But, I stopped seeing my neighbouring house on fire,” said V. Kalaiarasan (36).
He immediately switched off the mains of the electricity supply to the four houses in the compound.
As he tried to get into the house, he saw a moaning Ramamoorthy walking out with burns.
He then suddenly collapsed on the road.
“Even as I tried to get into the house, the heat of the fire prevented me. Just then there was a second explosion in the house,” Kalaiarasan added.
A youth, Ajithkumar, whose family had rented out the house, said that both the mother and the daughter did not respond even as the neighbours called out for them.
Fire and Rescue service personnel put out the fire. Later, the child and her mother were found dead inside the house. Ramamoorthy who was rushed to the hospital died on the way.
A police officer said that two cooking gas cylinders were found in the bedroom and none in the kitchen. This has raised suspicion that the fire could have been a suicide attempt by the husband.
Only further enquiry will reveal the actual cause of death, the officer said.
The Tirunagar police have registered a case of suspicious death due to burning.
Assistance to overcome suicidal thoughts is available on State health helpline 104.
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