Deaths of Two Children in Fire Leads to Riots in India

A fire chief and a firefighter in northern India have been suspended following the fire deaths of two children that sparked riots over the poor fire response.

Ansh Saxena, 8 and Sanjeev Das, 5, were killed in a fire in Etah, Uttar Pradesh last Tuesday. Their deaths sparked mob violence as angry residents threw stones at police and set three fire trucks and one police vehicle on fire.

The children were trapped on the second floor of the fire building. According to the Times of India, official reports stated:

On Tuesday two fire tenders who came to douse the rising flame were reported to have punctured hose reels, which prevented firefighters from spraying water on the second floor where the kids were stuck. After which locals initiated rescue measures on their own. After nearly an hour, the charred bodies were brought down, which enraged the residents.”

The riots led to a 5 hour lockdown of the city. Home Secretary Mani Prasad Mishra was quoted as saying: “On prima facie it was found that CFO J N Dhohare and lead fireman Niranjana Prasad were lenient, negligent and failed to execute duties and hence were suspended with the immediate effect.” Both men were members of the Etah Fire Brigade.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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