PUNE: In a tragic incident, five workers died of burn injuries and suffocation at a wholesale saree shop in Uruli Devachi near Hadapsar in the wee hours of Thursday. The owner of the shop had locked the shutter from outside. The workers had informed him about the fire but by the time he arrived, the fire had spread all over the two-storeyed building.
The incident took place around 4.30 am at Rajyog Saree centre on Hadapsar-Saswad road. The deceased have been identified as Rakesh Sukhdevji Riyad (22), Rakesh Bugaram Meghwal (20), Dharmram Sukharam Badiyasar (25), Suraj Paruji Sharma (25), all residents of Nagore in Rajasthan and Dhiraj Om Prakash Chandak (25) of Latur.
As per Pune rural police, three owners of the saree shop have been booked for culpable homicide. They had locked the shop from outside when it was closed on Wednesday night at 9.30 pm.
The police have booked owner Bhavarlal Hazarimal Prajapati of Surat, Gujarat, and his two partners Suresh Rajaram Jakad and Sushil Nandkishore Bajaj, both residents of Shindevasti, Uruli Devachi.
Police officials said that trio had rented the building a year ago.
The showroom was used for selling saree and readymade garments.
Every night, Jakad and Bajaj used to lock the shutter from outside, while the workers used to sleep inside.
The same thing happened on Wednesday night also. Around 4 am, one of the workers called Jakad to inform about fire in the showroom.
By the time Jakad came and opened the shutter, the fire had spread all across the showroom.
The fire brigade was informed around 4.30 am. Five fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Private water tankers were also called. The fire was doused in about an hour but the fire brigade personnel could bring out the bodies by 6.45 am. They had to break the wall to enter the building. Two JCB machines were called to lift the jawans on the first floor. There was no window in showroom to provide the workers an escape route.
Senior Police Inspector Suraj Bandgar, in-charge of Lonikalbhor police station, said, “We have arrested two partners of the owner on charges of culpable homicide. Further investigation is going on.”
Senior police officers including Add SP Jayant Meena and Deputy Superintendent of Police Dr Sai Bhore Patil also visited the spot.