Kannur car fire tragedy: Plastic bottle in vehicle had petrol, says forensic report

Prajith and Reesha; Reesha’s father K K Viswanathan and mother Sobhana are inconsolable after losing their daughter and son-in-law in the fire that broke out in the car. Screengrab

Kannur: The forensic report into the recent car fire here that claimed the lives of a pregnant woman and her husband states petrol kept in a plastic bottle on board led to the blaze.

The plastic bottle containing petrol suddenly caught fire killing T V Prajith and his wife K K Reesha, states the report.

During a detailed forensic examination, the plastic bottle recovered from the gutted car was found to have traces of petrol which explains the huge flames engulfing the vehicle within seconds, making it impossible for the couple to escape, states the report submitted by the Taliparamba Revenue Divisional Officer before the Kannur Judicial First Class Magistrate court.

The accident occurred near the District Government Hospital in Kannur on February 2 when the family members were taking the pregnant woman for a check-up. The moving car suddenly caught fire and the front portion went up in flames in no time, leading to the death of the couple. 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.

The four others, including Reesha’s father K K Viswanathan, mother Sobhana, daughter Sree Parvathi and cousin Sajana, who were sitting in the rear seat, escaped unhurt.

Earlier Viswanathan had refuted speculations that the bottles had petrol, saying they had filled the fuel in the car a little earlier and there was no need to store petrol in the vehicle.

“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 had said.

MVD report blamed short circuit

A short circuit of wires under the car’s dashboard led to the blaze, the Motor Vehicle Department earlier found.

Certain changes made in wiring to fix a reverse camera in the vehicle might have resulted in the short circuit, according to the MVD report. 

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