South Vancouver family already mourning grandma hit by bus as blaze breaks out in home

Published: June 16, 2013

Gurkiran Dhesi (young girl on left), Amrit Baggri (white shirt on right) and Harpal Baggri, along with other family members discuss the death of Naranjan Dhesi and the house fire in Vancouver on June 16. Wayne Leidenfrost / PNG


Police and fire investigators spent Sunday at the scene of a deadly fire in a south Vancouver home that claimed the life of a man in a downstairs suite while upstairs a family was mourning the loss of their matriarch in a bizarre accident.

The family of 75-year old Naranjan Dhesi had gathered at her home Saturday afternoon after they were told she had died from injuries she sustained when a bus on a hill rolled back and crushed her outside the Ross Street Sikh Temple.

Dhesi was dragged under the tour bus as she was lining up with others to go on a road trip to Harrison Hot Springs.

Her granddaughter, Gurkian Dhesi, on Sunday said the family was in her grandmother’s home to mourn her loss when they were told to evacuate the area because of the fire in the downstairs rental suite. Dhesi’s home is in the 900-block of East 63rd Avenue.

“It is really a tough time for us right now,” Gurkian said.

She said there were two females and one male who lived in the rental basement suite.

“She was a very good lady. She was a very nice mother and grandmother,” added relative Rajwant Toor.

“You can’t imagine the pain,” she said. “We find out our grandmother has been run over and then there is this fire in the suite and they tell us someone inside has died.

“This is a sad time for us.”

An employee of Burnaby-based Premier Pacific Coach Lines who answered the phone Sunday, said he couldn’t comment on the accident involving the company bus outside the Ross Street Sikh Temple.

Gurkiran Dhesi (left) along with other family members discuss the death of Naranjan Dhesi and the house fire in Vancouver on June 16. Wayne Leidenfrost / PNG

“I can’t comment because we don’t know anything at this point,” he said. “There’s an investigation. We know nothing at this point.”

Dhesi was with a group of seniors heading to the Fraser Valley on a charter. The bus rolled back a block before it stopped.

When Dhesi was loaded into the ambulance, it was believed her injuries were not life threatening.

But she died on the way to hospital. Three others suffered minor injuries in the freak bus accident.

Members of Dhesi’s family went to her home after hearing of the tragedy and were in the upstairs part of the two-storey residence when the fire broke out around 4:30 on Saturday.

Family members say they have not been told the extent of the fire damage in the home.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Capt. Gabe Roder said they have a lot of work ahead to try and determine the cause of the fire.

“The investigators are going back into the house [Sunday],” he said. “They will go through the house and find out what happened.”

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