Foul play suspected in Morang fire that killed four of a family

Biratnagar, October 4

Locals today said the fire that killed four people at Harkapur of Kanepokhari in Morang was pre-meditated.

Four people including, Chandra Bahadur Rai, were burnt to death in the fire that engulfed Rai’s house in the evening of Ghatasthapana. Rai,55, his  mother Gangamaya,86, wife Parbata,46 and sister Bishnu Maya,44, were charred to death in the blaze.

When locals came to know about the fire, the blaze had already engulfed Rai’s house from all four sides. The wooden ground floor was, however, untouched by the fire. “When I rushed to the site, the upper floor was in the flame. The ground floor however had not caught fire by then”, said Govinda Bahadur Basnet from the neighbourhood. Basnet recounted that he, then, unloosened the livestock and chased them to safety. “By the time I screamed for help, the fire had already reduced the house to ashes,” Basnet added. He said he could not climb up to the upper floor as it was engulfed in the flame.

Another local Sailendra Thoklen said the fire was intentional. “We have filed a case with police seeking a thorough investigation into the incident,” Thoklen said.

Yet another local Krishna Basnet said it was surprising to the house in fire from all sides at a same time. “While clearing rubble from the fire site, patches of fresh blood were found at the place from where Chandra Bahadur’s body had been recovered. How can a burnt body ooze off fresh blood?” Basnet wondered.

SP Arun Kumar BC at the district police office said police was carrying out an investigation into the incident. BC said police had been conducting a thorough probe after locals were unhappy with the preliminary police report in which the fire was blamed on short circuit.

The deceased Chandra Bahadaur has one daughter and one son. His son Raj Kumar and daughter Rachana have been living in Kathmandu.

The fire was taken under control with help of fire engines from Biratnagar, Itahari and Damak the next morning. Police estimate that property worth Rs 10 million was destroyed in the fire.