A 78-year-old lay monk from Tsirang died en route to Thimphu referral hospital on May 5 after he suffered third-degree burns.

The man sustained the burns when he was performing a ritual in a neighbour’s house.

Sources said the incident occurred around 6pm when thangkas, scrolls, hanging on the wall in an altar of a family residing below the district court office in which the lay monk was performing the ritual caught fire.

Sources also said the fire started after the scrolls caught fire from the 108 butter lamps lit in the altar.

Sources also said the family members tried to contain the fire but the altar was filled with smoke, they rushed out leaving the deceased in the room.

Tsirang dzongkhag disaster focal person, Sonam Phuntsho, said the deceased, who suffered from hypertension, must have become unconscious because of the smoke. “He was taken to Tsirang hospital and was referred to Thimphu but he died en route.”

Staff reporter