A fire caused by an LPG cylinder leak yesterday has exacted a heavy toll on the 10-member Dikshit family from Golibar Nagar in Santacruz East, claiming the lives of the only two breadwinners as well as two youngsters.
One of these cylinders leaked, causing the fire and the house after the fire. Pics/Sharad Vegda
The Dikshits own two flats in the Bholasingh Chawl in Golibar Nagar, one of which is a ground-plus-one-storey structure. Tragedy struck the family at around 10.30 am yesterday, when eight members of the family were in the ground-plus-one-storey flat.
Rajdev Dikshit (44), who works in the press of a Gujarati newspaper, his cousin Kapildev Dikshit (46), a foreman in a private firm, and the latter’s wife Nandini, were on the first floor and Rajdev’s wife, Shaila, their sons, Jitender (20) and Yashwant (17) and Kapildev’s sisters, Meera and Shobha, were on the ground floor.
Pritesh Dikshit, who lost his father, Kapildev, was in another of the family’s flats in the chawl and found out about the fire only when he heard the commotion
According to officials from the Vakola police station, an LPG cylinder that had just been replaced began to leak and a fire suddenly broke out, engulfing the house in flames. While Nandini jumped out through the balcony, the others were trapped inside.
One of the Dikshits’ neighbours suffered an electric shock while trying to rescue the trapped members of the family
“We only heard a buzzing sound and the next thing we knew was that the ground floor was covered in flames. As soon as I saw that, I jumped out of the balcony. I thought my husband and brother-in-law were following me, but I realised later that they were stuck inside,” Nandini told mid-day.
Bodies pile up
Their neighbours immediately rushed to the spot and tried to break open the door. While they managed to pull out everybody within minutes of the fire breaking out and even managed to douse the fire, Jitender and Yashwant couldn’t even make it to the hospital and succumbed on the way.
“Initially, it seemed like an impossible task, but we managed to pull all of them out as soon as possible. There was too much smoke and gas inside, making it difficult to see or even stand inside the house. We eventually used sand to douse the fire,” said Sunil Tiwari, one of the neighbours.
One of the neighbours said that the two breadwinners of the family, Rajdev and Kapildev, usually work nights and come back home only after 11.30 am, but they had both managed to come home early yesterday. Both of them succumbed to their injuries while being treated at the V N Desai Hospital in Santacruz, where all the victims were rushed.
While Shobha and Meera suffered from minor injuries and were undergoing treatment at V N Desai Hospital, Rajdev’s wife, Shaila, suffered nearly 80 per cent burn injuries and was shifted to Kasturba Hospital. When mid-day spoke to the medical superintendent of V N Desai Hospital, he said the four men had lost their lives because of burn injuries and hypoxia caused by smoke inhalation.
“Both women undergoing treatment at the hospital have suffered minor burn injuries. The other woman, Shaila, had suffered serious burn injuries on her extremities, torso and back and that’s why she was shifted immediately,” he said. One of the Dikshits’ neighbours fell unconscious after suffering an electric shock while trying to rescue the victims and she is also undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Kapildev’s son Pritesh (17) was in the family’s other flat in the chawl with his grandfather, which is a couple of flats away. The distraught teenager told mid-day that he hadn’t even realised there was a fire until he heard the commotion.
The fire brigade vehicles reached the spot at 11.24 am, by which time the fire had been doused and the victims had already been taken to the hospital. Fire officials said that they are investigating the cause of the incident.