In a tragic incident, eight persons, including a child, were burnt alive inside a bus after the vehicle caught fire at Harnaut Bazaar in Nalanda district, 60 km from state capital Patna.
Nalanda superintendent of police Ashish Anand said efforts were on to ascertain the identity of the eight persons who have died.
"The fire started in the front part of the bus and spread throughout immediately". All the 16 injured have been rushed to different hospitals, 10 of them were sent to Patna while six others are at the Sadar hospital at Biharsharif. "The local people gathered there and tried to douse the fire and pull out passengers by breaking the window panes", said Harnaut MLA Harinarayan Singh, quoting eyewitnesses. "First, it is being shifted at the road side as the incident took place exactly on NH-30", he said adding that the Chowk was also a passenger debaording place.
The Nalanda DM said traces of carbide have also been found from the gutted bus raising suspicion that the volatile compound could have triggered the fire due to the heat inside the bus.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the dependants of the dead and free treatment of the injured.
Disaster management officials said in Patna that preliminary investigation had revealed that carbide, a chemical used in ripening fruits, was suspected to have caused the fire.