Update: The cause of the recent Chamkhar fire in Bumthang was accidental, say police. The fire razed four buildings and caused the demolition of two more, along with a vegetable shed on December 28.

Police suspect that the fire started from a gas stove and had spread  by the time residents in the building became aware of it. The fire started from a medical shop.

Police officials said the buildings razed were all newly constructed and that they are certain arson is not involved. “No person will burn down all their properties and houses just because they have been insured,” an official said. These houses were built after the 2011 fire.

Electricity has been ruled out as a short circuit would have cut off electricity to the line of buildings. When the fire began, electricity was still available.

The owner of the Medical shop from where the fire started, Pema

Yangzom said she does not know what caused the fire. She was not in the building when the fire was noticed.

“My daughter was trying to put her baby to sleep when she heard something burning in the kitchen,” she said. “She called me and the fire was burning on the ceiling when I reached there. I tried to open up the fire extinguisher but it did not open,” she said, displaying the cut on her palm that she sustained when trying to open it.

She said her family did not cook that evening as they decided not to

eat dinner after a late lunch. “Only my water boiler was on,” she said.

Officials and volunteers finished clearing the damaged area yesterday.

Some of those who resided in the buildings dug through debris looking to salvage any valuables. Some managed to find some valued items.

This is the fourth fire to have affected Chamkhar since 2010.

Nima Wangdi | Chamkhar