Fire 'mishap' kills driver, 4 buses gutted

Fire 'mishap' kills driver, 4 buses gutted

The driver of a private travel agency was charred to death and four mini buses were gutted in an accidental fire on the Bommanahalli-Hongasandra Main Road, early on Monday morning.

Madivala police have identified the victim as Huchche Gowda, 35, a native of Harapanahalli in Davangere district. Gowda, the driver of  Basaveshwara Travels, was sleeping in a bus when the mishap took place at around 3:30 am.

As many as 11 mini buses of the travel agency were parked on the road. The agency office is situated on the parallel Begur Main Road.

“Our drivers park the buses on Saturday night and take them out only on Monday to ferry factory workers,” said Shanmugesh, the owner of Basaveshwara Travels.

“We don’t know what triggered the fire. But two of our new buses and two old ones were completely gutted, causing a loss of up to Rs 40 lakh,” he added.

New employee

Gowda was married to Mamatha and has an eight-year-old daughter. He had joined the agency four months ago.

“He would sleep inside the bus every day. I had given him some money as he wanted to rent a house in Begur,” Shanmugesh said. “He wanted to shift on Monday and had even bought the pooja materials.”

He added that rooms have also been provided to drivers near the office.

Paramesh, a driver who stays in one of these rooms, told Deccan Herald that many of the agency’s drivers and staff were awoken by the noise of the explosion.

“We heard an explosion on early Monday morning and rushed outside,” he said.

“We were shocked to see the buses engulfed in thick flames and immediately called police and the fire department. We alerted a few neighbours and poured water from a sump nearby to douse the fire. When we started checking the buses, we were shocked to see the charred body of Gowda on a seat,” he added.

Shanmugesh told police  that he did not suspect any foul play and termed the mishap an accident.

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