Pradeep Pattanayak

The mysterious fire at a house in Sikarpai village of Rayagada district on March 17 in which three members of a family were killed while two others suffered severe burns still continues to baffle police.

The incident took place under Kalyansinghpur police limits of the district.

The deceased included Dayanidhi Behera, his wife Laxmi Behera and son Anil. The deceased couple’s severely injured younger son Srikant Behera and his wife Swapna Behera are still battling for life at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. 

Though four days have passed since the incident occurred, the police are unable to ascertain the cause of fire or the circumstances leading to so many deaths and injuries. Also, the police are yet to ascertain if it was a case of mass suicide by the family as part of a pact, or a well planned elimination of the entire family. 

Meanwhile, a scientific team visited the house and carried out investigation in the presence of Kalyansinghpur Tehsildar Debasish Kar.

Terming the incident ‘unfortunate’, Kar said, “The investigation is presently underway and the case would be cracked soon.” 

Raja Rao Dash, who was among the first responders to the fire said he found the room filled with smoke when he, along with others, rushed hearing the screams of the family members. “By that time, Dayanidhi and his wife had already been charred while their son Anil had suffered around 90 percent burns. Dayanidhi’s younger son and his wife were also present in the house and they had also been severely burnt,” Dash recalled.  

Notably, around 5.30 pm on March 17 when Dayanidhi’s neighbours heard frantic screams emanating from the house they immediately came to their rescue. They somehow managed to evacuated the injured from the burning house rushed all of them to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur. While undergoing treatment, Dayanidhi, his wife and son succumbed to their injuries.