Home-alone girl charred to death

Home-alone girl charred to death

A 12-year-old girl, who had locked herself up in the house as both her parents had gone to work, was charred to death in a fire accident at Kumaraswamy Layout here on Tuesday afternoon. Police suspect a short circuit might have triggered the fire, but they are not ruling out suicide either.

Neighbours saw smoke billowing out from the house and tried opening the door to rescue Keertana, but couldn’t. By the time the fire tenders put out the fire and broke into the house, the girl was dead.

Keertana might have survived had she gone to school. The Class VII student of the nearby St Philomena’s School was asked by her father not to start school on a Tuesday, although her institution had reopened after Dasara holidays.

“She was ready to go to school. But today being a Tuesday, an inauspicious day, I asked her to stay home and go to school from tomorrow. That killed my daughter,” wailed a guilt-ridden Puttegowda.

Keertana was the only daughter of Puttegowda, an electrician, and Sunandamma, who works at a nearby garment factory. The family is from Kabbalu village near Satanur, Kanakapura. They lived in a single-room house among a cluster of matchbox-like structures at the end of the lane in Kumaraswamy Layout.

After forcing their daughter to stay home, Puttegowda and Sunandamma left for work. Keertana was seen playing near a neighbour’s house around 11 am. He asked her to stay indoors to be safe. The girl probably got into the house and locked herself up.

Minutes later, neighbours saw smoke rising from the house. They could not make their way to the building as the narrow lane was filled with smoke. Soon, the main door of the house also caught fire.

Malappa, a neighbour and a cab driver, told Deccan Herald that he was on his way to a nearby shop when he saw the girl at the gate and asked her to stay home. “By the time I returned, a group of people had gathered around the house.

I tried entering the lane but couldn’t. We alerted the fire brigade. I climbed up and broke the asbestos roof of the house so that some air could pass through. But the fire got wild with that,” recounts Malappa.

Two fire-tenders put out the fire within minutes. They entered the house and found the girl charred to death lying near the main door, indicating that she might have tried to open the door. There was a gas cylinder and a kerosene stove in the kitchen, both untouched by the fire.

Kumaraswamy Layout Police, who have registered a case of unnatural death, are not ruling out suicide. The doctors who conducted the autopsy said the body smelt of kerosene and so, it could also be a case of suicide. “We are ruling out no angle,” said S N Siddaramappa, DCP (South), in-charge.

After autopsy at KIMS Hospital, the body was handed over to the family in the evening.

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