The gate of the home gutted in early Tuesday’s fire, which killed five members of a family, in Thakurgaon’s Pirganj was locked from outside when the flames engulfed the whole house, police and fire-fighters have said.
The district’s Fire Service Deputy Director Md Anisur Rahman on Wednesday said that locals had tried in vain to break the lock on the main gate when they noticed it.
The lock was responsible for their failure to rescue anyone in the house, he said.
Fire-fighters broke through the house’s wall but by then two persons were already dead. Three others who were rushed to the hospital succumbed to severe burns.
The fire in the early hours of Tuesday claimed the lives of Dinajpur traffic police Constable Kharesh Chandra, 44, his wife Keya Rani, 38, their son Nirnoy, 8, and daughter Nice, 13, and Keya's sister Sandhya Rani, 22.
The tin-shed house was named ‘Nirnoy Kutir’ after Kharesh's son Nirnoy. A severed power line found at the premises had earlier led police to the prima facie suspicion of the fire being caused by electrical malfunction.
However, Thakurgaon Rural Electrification Association Managing Director Md Khalikuzzaman said that a fire from the 220 volt power line was unlikely, given the infrastructure of the house.
He added that an internal wiring problem could have led to the fire, but said that the possibility needs to be probed through proper investigation.
Three committees to inquire into the occurrence have been formed by the district administration, police and the association.
The Fire Service is also looking into the matter independently.
On Wednesday, police cordoned off the burnt house to gather evidence.
Although the interiors of the five rooms with the belongings were charred, there was not much sign of fire on the tin roof or the outside portion.
As the small courtyard of the L-shaped home has been found almost unscathed in the fire, it is not clear why no one from within could manage to come out.
Asked if there was a possibility of sabotage, Additional Superintendent of Police Dewan Lalan Ahmed said, "We are investigating the matter. The probe will reveal everything."
Relatives said that since Kharesh and his family mostly lived in Dinajpur, the house was largely under lock and key. Kharesh's father Suresh Chandra Roy and elder brother Hiralal Roy live in a separate house close by.
Speaking to bdnews24.com, Suresh said that Kharesh's wife, children and sister-in-law had come to the house by train on Monday noon to celebrate Durga Puja. Kharesh arrived by motorcycle in the evening.
"At night we all went to sleep after discussing who would do what on Dashami (which was celebrated on Tuesday). Around 4am, we woke up to noise and rushed outside to see the house on fire,” he said.
Kharesh's mother Chaiti Rani told bdnews24.com that Kharesh was the second among her three sons and a daughter.
"Despite staying in Dinajpur for his job, he had come home to celebrate Durga Puja with everyone. But all's over now,” said the grief-stricken woman.
The police constable’s brother Hiralal said that when they rushed in to douse the flames, they found the gate locked from outside. He has no idea who could have locked the gate and why.
Kharesh's friend Ganesh Kumar Roy said that he too rushed in after getting news of the fire. He said he had heard screams coming from inside but could not save anyone.
Local resident Al Amin said that the fire-fighters had breached the wall with their help and recovered the charred dead bodies of Keya and Sandhya after rescuing the badly burnt Kharesh, Nice and Nirnoy.
Thakurgaon Superintendent of Police Farhat Ahmed told bdnews24.com: "The issue is very sensitive and we are probing it with utmost attention. If anyone is involved in the incident, he will surely be brought to justice,” according to bdnews24.com. – bz