Delhi: 2-year-old boy dead as brother accidentally sets sofa on fire

Somya Lakhani

Sometimes, the six-year-old cries out in pain caused by a minor burn injury on his leg. Other times, he sobs for his two-year-old brother, who died in a fire - accidentally caused allegedly by him - on Monday afternoon.

"The brothers were playing in an empty plot near their house. A discarded sofa, which was kept there for holika dahan, accidentally caught fire when the elder brother lit a matchstick. The younger boy was on the sofa and couldn't escape as the fire spread quickly," said a police officer. DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said a case under IPC sections 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) and 304A (causing death by negligence) has been registered.

A PCR call was made by a neighbour at 2 pm, and the child was rushed to DDU Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

"My elder son told me that he tried to grab the younger one, who was sitting on the sofa, and sustained burn injuries on his leg. The toddler's clothes got stuck to the spring of the sofa seat… He then rushed home and told his mother," said the 29-year-old father, who was at work at the time of the incident.

A police officer said that foul play or involvement of a third party is not suspected and it seems the elder child accidentally set the sofa on fire while playing. The neighbour who made the PCR call said, "We heard the child screaming 'aag lag gayi' and rushed out… Somehow, the mother managed to pull him out and we took the child to the hospital."

After the post-mortem was conducted, the family left for their village in UP to conduct the last rites. "My elder son hasn't understood what has happened. He keeps crying and saying 'chhota bhaiya kahan hai'. I don't have an answer," said the inconsolable father.