Firefighters responded to a blaze at a home in Chennai on Tuesday that killed a BJP member. Photo: iStock

A 46-year-old man succumbed to burns on Tuesday, after a fire started in the air conditioner in his bedroom in Villivakkam, Chennai.

Police identified the victim as VKS Gandhirajan, a BJP member and the district deputy secretary of the farmers’ wing.

Reports said that Gandhirajan, who usually slept in the hall, woke up on Tuesday morning and went into his bedroom. At 9 am, family members saw smoke billowing out of the bedroom. Though his wife Sangeetha knocked on the door and told her husband to come out, there was no response from him. After the fire spread to the bed on which Gandhirajan was sleeping, he woke up but it was too late and he suffered severe burns. “Since the door was very old, it was strong, and we found it difficult to open,” a friend identified as Raja was quoted as saying.

“Since the door was very old, it was strong, and we found it difficult to open,” a friend identified as Raja was quoted as saying.

Gandhirajan managed to open the door and his neighbors took him to a nearby private hospital in an autorickshaw. From there, he was taken to the Government Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, where he was admitted with burns over  96% of his body. He died on Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators said the fire might have been caused by a short circuit caused by excessive usage. 

Gandhirajan is survived by his wife and three children.