Survivor of Kannur car fire trashes reports on inflammable liquid on board

Viswanathan (left) and T V Prajith and his wife K Reesha (right). Photo: Manorama Online

Kannur: A survivor of the ghastly car fire in Kannur which claimed the lives of a young couple the other day refuted reports suggesting that inflammable liquid that was on board led to the tragedy.

The plastic bottle kept in the car had water and not petrol, said victim Reesha’s father K K Viswanathan.

While the couple, Kuttiattoor natives T V Prajith (35) and his wife K Reesha (26), were charred to death, Viswanathan, Reesha’s mother Sobhana, daughter Sree Parvathy and cousin Sajina, who were sitting in the rear seat, escaped unhurt in the tragedy happened near district hospital, Kannur, on Thursday.

Earlier, there were speculations that plastic bottles of petrol stored inside the car had fueled the fire, with flames engulfing the vehicle in seconds as onlookers stood helpless. This after the Forensic wing found remains of a plastic bottle, with some liquid, from under the driver’s seat.

While denying the rumours, Viswanathan said they had filled fuel in the car from a pump in Mahi while returning from Palakkad, and that there was no need to store petrol in the plastic bottles.

"The smoke first billowed out of the moving car from the steering side and the flames engulfed the vehicle in no time. The three others, besides me, could escape as we managed to jump out of the burning car. Though we manage to break the window pane on the front side where Reesha was sitting, she and Prajith couldn’t be saved," Viswanathan said with teary eyes.

“When the vehicle passed the Kannur Fire Station, Prajith told us that some smell was emanating. Just as I asked him to stop the vehicle and turn off the engine, flames started coming from under the seat and soon engulfed the car. I remember nothing after that. I pushed open the door and jumped outside. The burning vehicle continued to move forward in a swig-swag manner, without any control. I have no idea how the car came to a rest. By then, it got gutted completely,” Viswanathan added.

Forensic examination on

The Forensic experts, during a detailed inspection of the vehicle on Friday, collected a plastic bottle with some liquid from under the driver’s seat. Melted plastic parts of the car were found over this. Similar remnants were also collected from it on Thursday after the shocking incident.

The officials had said they have no idea of what the liquid was and the same could be known only after a detailed examination. However, they too scotched rumours that the plastic bottles had petrol, citing that the car would have been completely burnt in that case.

A team of the Motor Vehicle Department that inspected the car cited a short circuit under the steering part as the reason for the fire.

The car was additionally fitted with a reverse camera and an infotainment system. A spark, following the short-circuit of the wires, could have resulted in the flames, the officials said in a report.

The family was taking the pregnant woman to the hospital for a check-up when the tragedy struck. Both the front doors got jammed, making the escape of the couple impossible. The onlookers too couldn’t do much as the fire engulfed the vehicle quickly.

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