New Delhi: Three Indian teenaged siblings were among four people killed in a fire at a house in the US state of Tennessee, just two days before Christmas, according to media reports. The fire killed a woman and three Indian teens from Telangana who were staying with her family through the holidays in a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, the USA Today reported.
Aaron Naik, 17, Sharron Naik, 14 and Joy Naik, 15, were killed along with 46-year-old Kari Coudriet, the owner of the two-storey home.
The fire started just before 11 pm on December 23 and took 20-30 minutes to come under control, said Collierville Fire Chief Buddy Billings. Heavy smoke was billowing from the home when firefighters arrived, the colliervilleherald.net reported.
The tragedy was confirmed in a Facebook post by the Town of French Camp, which said: “Friends and family, please pray for Pastor Naik and his wife. They sent their three precious children to America from India to keep them safe, and during the break, a fire took their lives.”
The post also said the children “have been a blessing to the French Camp community and are loved by our whole town. I cannot fathom the grief of their parents as I know how much our town is grieving.”
Kari’s husband Danny and their son Cole were able to make it out of the home. Both are expected to make full recovery
The Church statement said that the family of Indian teenagers was on its way to the US from India. The parents were identified as Srinivas Naik and Sujatha of Gurraputhanda of Neredugommu block in Nalgonda district of Telangana.
Srinivas had worked as a pastor in the US and returned to Nalgonda last year. The children, however, stayed back in the US for studies at French Camp Academy in Mississippi. The children were at the Coudriet residence to celebrate Christmas.
Local 24 News reported there were no working smoke detectors downstairs and only one working smoke detector upstairs.
“It was chaotic… The house went up really, really fast,” website localmemphis.com quoted a neighbour Scott Symons as saying.
“It was just frantic trying to figure out how many people were in the house; I knew there were multiple kids there,” Symons said.
As he tried to assist before fire trucks arrived, Symons saw two people make it out: 13-year-old Cole Coudriet – who jumped out of a window – and his father, Danny Coudriet.
“He was covered head to toe in black,” Symons was quoted by the website as saying.