Bar fire victims locked shutters, say police

A  team of senior police officials visited Kailash Bar and Restaurant in Kalasipalyam on Tuesday to investigate whether the victims of Monday's fire were locked up from outside.

Five men working in the bar died of asphyxiation after a fire broke out inside the bar early Monday morning. All the five workers were sleeping inside the bar.

Clearing speculation, the probe revealed that the workers had locked the shutter, the only exit from inside, and the keys of all the locks remained with Rangaswamy, who was among the victims.

Bar cashier Ramachandra had only the cash box keys, the police said.  

The shutters were jammed as auto drivers tried to open it with crowbars and the firemen had to wait for the rescue vehicle to arrive with the cutting equipment. The firemen gained entry only after 4 am after the Regional Fire Officer and Chief Fire Officer arrived at the spot.

They then shifted two victims thought to be alive to the nearby Victoria Hospital but they were declared brought dead. Later, three other bodies were also shifted to the morgue, the police said.

The two arrested (V R Prakash and Somashekar) were produced before a magistrate who remanded them in judicial custody on Monday night.

The police said the licence holder V R Dayashankar, one of the suspects, is paralytic and could not be arrested.

"We are awaiting reports from the Electrical Inspectorate, Forensic Science Laboratory and Fire and Emergency Services," said M N Anucheth, DCP West Division.

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