In February this year, a major fire broke out at a car service centre in Musheerabad in Hyderabad on February 8 this year. The accident happened at Mitra Motors, which deals with sales and services of Maruti Nexa cars. It was reported past midnight, resulting in three cars being torched, and damage to property worth Rs 1 crore. Now, six months later, it has finally come to light what caused the fire – a rat! Reported first by U Sudhakar Reddy of TOI, CCTV footage from the night of the fire shows how a tiny rat inadvertently caused the mishap.
Though the police had closed the case saying it was a case of short circuit, a detailed of the CCTV inspection from that night by a private forensic agency called Truth Labs revealed how the fire really broke out. It appears that on the morning of February 7, there was a pooja for a deity. One of the employees is seen holding a diya, which is lit. These are shots from around 10 am in the morning.
Because there was no wind in the room, the diya reportedly remained lit till the night. And at 11:51 pm that night, the footage shows a rat on the table in the customer service room – which would end up eventually causing the mishap.
At 11:55 pm, the CCTV camera captures the rodent carrying some burning material, possibly the wick from the diya from the pooja earlier. Within a second, the rat nears a chair, with the lit material.
Just a couple of seconds later, the camera captures the fire lighting up on the part of the chair, which is under the table, where the rat seems to have dropped the burning material. The rat meanwhile, is still on the table.
The fire quickly grows, and at 12:06 am, the chair is up in flames.
Once the fire started on the first floor, it spread to the ground floor, which had the cars for repair.
The inspecting team found no hydrocrabons, eliminating ignition of the fire extraneously using flammable liquid.
The police had initially closed the case. T Murli Krishna, Station House Officer, Musheerabad police station told TNM, “The fire took place in the month of February at the Nexa car service centre in Musheerabad. A case was registered and an investigation happened. The case was closed after the concerned departments submitted a report saying the fire was due to a short circuit.”