Shillong, Nov 17 : The ''Church of God'' at Qualapatty here in Meghalaya was reduced to ashes in an inferno in the early hours of Sunday.
A couple residing adjacent to the 95-year-old church died allegedly due to suffocation. The church members staying in the church were the first to notice flames coming out of the church at around 4 am on Sunday, but police anticipated that the fire must have broken out before that.
Several houses adjacent to the Church were damaged due to the impact of blazing fire and a couple – Timiryn Basaiawmoit and Reliable Laloo – died due to the impact of the fire.
Superintendent of Police in-charge Fire and Emergency Services, Jubi G. Momin said that the cause of the fire is yet to established and the investigation is on at all aspects.
“There is a possibility that it (fire) could be due to electrical short circuit since some repairing works including wiring were going on inside the church,” Momin said.
Local residents said they made all efforts to douse the flames.
“The firemen were all out to contain the fast leaping flames despite all odds. It took 15-20 minutes for a fire tender to reach the spot due the narrow road leading to the Church premises,” Momin said.
She said fire tenders relayed continuous supply of water to the fire tender stationed at the church premises to extinguish the flames.
A senior pastor of the Church, Rev. O. L. Snaitang told UNI that the Church was build in 1924 and the faithful of Church of God will rebuild the Church again. Home Minister James Sangma, Director General of Police R.Chandranathan accompanied by senior police and district officials visited the site and took stock of the situation.
Former United Democratic Party legislator, Jemino Mawthoh was also at the site.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is at New Delhi, tweeted, “#Meghalaya woke up to the tragic news of the Church of God, Qualapatty being gutted in fire that also claimed lives this morning. The indigenous church is one of the oldest in the State. My prayers for the deceased and the Church of God family.”
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police in-charge Claudia Lyngwa said that the police are still waiting for post mortem report to know the cause of death of the two couple. Moreover, she said the investigation is on. (UNI)