Refrigerator blast kills TN journalist, wife and mother

The trio may have been suffocated to death as thick smoke filled the house after the blast.

Chennai: A Chennai-based journalist and two members of his family asphyxiated to death on Thursday after the refrigerator compressor exploded in their house in Selaiyur near Tambaram. The trio may have been suffocated to death as thick smoke filled the house after the blast.

According to the police, Prasanna( 32) a senior reporter in the Tamil news network NewsJ, his wife Archana (28) , a private school teacher and his mother, 59-year old Revathy passed away due to the fire. They were residing in an independent house in Sundharam Colony in Selaiyur near East Tambaram.

Preliminary investigations say the fire started after the compressor of the fridge burst due to high voltage. Police officials said, “The compressor of a refrigerator will have a little amount of freon gas, which alone may not be the reason for suffocation. Smoke emanating from burning plastic materials is dark and highly poisonous and poor ventilation and exhaust facilities might have led to the three getting suffocated.”

The incident came to light after their housemaid, Durga of Mudichur came to the home at 10.30 am when she felt heat waves coming from the house. There was no response from inside when she knocked on the door. She immediately alerted the neighbours who alerted the police and the fire personnel.

Selaiyur police and fire tenders from Tambaram fire station rushed to the spot. The bodies of the journalist and his mother and wife were found in the living room. Police said after the blast, Prasanna and his mother might have attempted to reach the main door while his wife was lying unconscious on the bed. But their efforts failed as both swooned in the hall.

Their bodies were retrieved by the fire department and sent to the Chromepet government hospital. After the post mortem, the bodies were handed over to Prasanna’s sister who lives in Thiruvanmiyur.

Police suspect that the refrigerator connected directly to a power socket without a stabiliser might have exploded due to high voltage, triggering a fire that was fuelled by the leaking gas from the compressor. The refrigerator was destroyed completely. Several household articles were destroyed in the fire but the house was not damaged. A case has been registered in the Selaiyur police station which is investigating the exact cause of death.

Prasanna was a Tamil Nadu based reporter with 10-years of experience. He had previously worked with Thanthi TV and GTV before moving to NewsJ which is owned by the ruling AIADMK.

He was married to Archana a year back and the couple had no children.

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