2 People arrested over five children’s death in orphanage fire

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Police on Friday detained two employees of the Sweet Home for interrogation about the cause of the tragic fire incident of late Thursday night at the orphanage run by the Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal in which five children were burnt to death.

The in-charge of Mirpurkhas Bait-ul-Mal Mohammad Amir and a caregiver woman were held after two inquiry committees, one by DIG Javed Alam Odho and the other by the deputy commissioner, were formed to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire broke out late in the night in a room in the Sweet Home in which about 10 children were sleeping and quickly engulfed it and other rooms as there were no fire extinguishing arrangements in the building where about a hundred children, aged five to 10 years, were lodged.

The panicked children rushed out to the main gate which the guard opened in time to let them out to safety. By the time the fire brigade vehicle arrived, five children were already burnt to death.

SSP Rukhsar Khawar, who rushed to the site to supervise the rescue operation, said he believed the fire was caused by a mosquito repellent coil left smoldering throughout the night to repel mosquitoes.

It might have set a bed sheet on fire and quickly engulfed the room because none of the sleeping children could have noticed it in time, he said. But sources in the orphanage said that a short circuit might have caused the tragedy. The real cause of fire would be ascertained only after the probe, said the sources.

The deceased were identified as Javed, Abdul Samad, Abdul Waheed, Tajamul and Nasir whose bodies were shifted to mortuary in the Mirpurkhas civil hospital.

Meanwhile, director of Bait-ul-Mal Sindh Adnan Majeed inspected the fire scene while district council chairman Mir Anwar Ali Khan Talpur expressed condolences to the bereaved families.

He said in a press statement that the district administration had been asked to take necessary precautionary measures to avert a repeat of such incidents in future.

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