In a freak accident, a 38-year-old woman was killed after her nightie caught fire when she was walking past an electricity junction box in Chennai on Saturday night.
According to reports, on Saturday night, J Leema Rose, a resident of Choolaimedu in Chennai was on her way to the nearby grocery store when the incident happened. Eyewitnesses told the police that she was walking to the store, wearing a polyester nightie and talking over the phone when they heard a small explosion and saw flames coming up from the ground, engulfing her. As she called out for help at the panicked onlookers, one of them brought a blanket and covered her burning body, putting out the fire.
Witnesses also said that after the fire was put out, Leema walked up to the nearby grocery store, waited for the ambulance to arrive and got herself admitted at Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital. She suffered almost 80% burns to her body.
Leema worked as a housekeeping staff at a private college in the city and has a 16-year-old son, who dropped out of school and is working at an eatery. Her husband passed away a few years ago.
Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO) officials stated that such instances are rare after TANGEDCO started laying cables underground. They have also sought a preliminary report on the incident and asked for CCTV footage of the spot to ascertain the reason for the accident.
While officials faulted telecom companies for unscrupulous digging of roads, thereby damaging the cables laid by the company, residents have said that there were many such junction boxes left in the open, posing a threat to passersby. They stated that though TANGEDCO officials attend to the issue after repeated calls, they fail to find a permanent solution for it and instead opt for temporary fixes.
Meanwhile, the Choolaimedu police have registered an FIR for unnatural death and are investigating the case.