Eleven migrant workers from Bihar were charred to death in a huge fire that broke out at a scrap godown in Secunderabad here early Wednesday, police said. The incident occurred in the godown in IDH Colony of Bhoiguda area in Secunderabad around 4 a.m. Police said one person managed to jump out of the fire and he was rushed to Gandhi Hospital. Others trapped in the fire due to heavy smoke were burnt alive. All the victims were migrant workers from Chapra district Bihar and were asleep when the fire broke out. Barring one, the rest were between 23 and 35 years of age. The fire was doused with the help of five fire tenders which rushed to the scene from different areas. Short circuit is suspected to have caused the fire. Hyderabad Police Commissioner C. V. Anand said the workers were asleep in rooms on the first while scrap material including plastic, newspapers and other scrap items were stored on the ground floor.
Someone alerted the police after a gas cylinder exploded due to the fire. The bodies were shifted to Gandhi Hospital. Hospital authorities said bodies of 10 deceased were charred beyond recognition. Gandhi Hospital superintendent Dr Raja Rao said four teams were constituted for autopsy. "We have to do DNA tests to identify the bodies and after completing the procedure we will hand over the remains to their families," he said. Police said the negligence by the timber depot owner and violation of safety rules led to the incident. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed shock over the fire accident and mourned the death of Bihar workers. He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of those who died in the fire. The Chief Minister directed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to make arrangements to send the bodies of Bihar workers to their native places.
Based on the statements of the relatives and friends of the victims who rushed to the scene after learning about the incident, the deceased were identified as Deepak (26), Dinesh (35), Rajesh (25), Chintu (27), Pankaj (26), Bittu (23), Satender (35), Golu (28), Damodar (27), Sikandar (40), Rajesh (26). They were working at scrap shops, timber depots and other shops in the area. Minister for animal husbandry T. Srinivas Yadav, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Police Commissioner Anand, Hyderabad district collector L. Sharman visited the scene. Srinivas Yadav said the government would extend all possible help to the families. The Police Commissioner said the owner of the godown had no permissions from authorities concerned. Police registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC and took up investigation. Later, Home Minister Mohammed Mehmood Ali visited Gandhi Hospital and said action would be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and leaders of various political parties also expressed shock over the fire accident.