Kumbakonam fire accident remembered

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 16, 2018 04:06 PM IST

Kumbakonam: To mark the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the gruesome Kumbakonam fire accident that killed 94 children, the parents of the departed souls paid homage to them at the incident's premises in Kumbakonam.

On 16 July, 2004, a fire broke out in the kitchen of Sri Krishna Middle School and later spread to the first floor through the thatched roof top. More than 700 children were enrolled in three schools, illegally run by the owners. A total of 94 students died in the blaze.

The investigation showed that there was only one staircase for the children to exit, and that there was no proper fire safety equipment in the school.

In 2012, the court set up a commission to conduct an inquiry into the case, and 24 people were held responsible for the incident. The people included were the founder of the school, Prabhakaran; the headmaster of the Sri Krishna Girls High School, ‘Pulavar’ Palanisamy; the school correspondent, Saraswathi; her adopted daughter, Santhalakshmi; the then Municipal Commissioner, Sathyamurthy; the then Town Planning Officer, K Murugan; three school teachers and Education Department officials.

A Thanjavur district court on 30 July, 2014, had convicted 10 accused and acquitted 11 people in the case. The owner of the school was given a 10-year jail term, and a fine of Rs 47 lakh was slapped on the school headmaster, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment.