New Delhi, Nov 14 (PTI) People who survived a major fire in an east Delhi residential building on Tuesday recounted the horror of the night; some were stranded in their flats for hours, while others faced the dire prospect of jumping from their balconies to save their lives.
A 55-year-old woman died while nine persons, including a fireman, were injured in the blaze at a four-storey building in Shakarpur area in the early hours of Tuesday. Delhi Fire Services (DFS) rescued 25 people from the building that housed around 40 people.
The blaze started at 1 am in the parking area of the building and later spread to the entire structure.
A senior DFS officer said that Anita Singh, who died in the incident, was lying unconscious on the couch near the main door when the fire personnel reached her house during the rescue operation.
"Anita was lying on the couch when we reached the fourth floor. Two others were also lying in the house unconscious and we immediately took them to the hospital,” the officer said.
Anita could be trying to escape or she may have been waiting to be rescued near the door, the officer said.
Anita, who was employed at a boutique at Greater Kailash, had also received some burn injuries, said Parul, a relative.
Anita’s sister-in-law Beena and nephew Piyush – who were also in the house – were admitted to RML Hospital and GTB Hospital respectively.
“Currently doctors have kept Piyush in the hospital for observation. He works as an event photographer.
“They had been living in the house for the last 12 years," Parul said.
Suparbha Devi, who was living on the first floor of the building with her family, said that her daughter jumped from the house to save her life but received a fracture in her hand.
“When the fire broke out, we rushed to the balcony as there was no way to come out of the house from the main door. My daughter Shivani jumped from the balcony and received a fracture in her hand,” Suparbha said.
“Later, some people took a ladder and helped us to get out of our house,” she said.
Dev Singh Adhikari, a fourth-floor resident, said that they were stuck in the balcony for around four to five hours and came out of the building early in the morning.
"My son was working on his laptop when he got to know about the fire. He alerted us and rushed to the terrace. I also tried to go to the terrace, but my wife and daughter were in the house and they were not in a condition to go. There was a lot of smoke and fire at the main door of the house,” said Adhikari, who retired from the Border Security Force last year.
"We were on the balcony for around four to five hours. There was a panic situation in the area. We saw that some people jumped from their houses to save themselves. Later, the firemen came to our house and rescued us. They initially asked us to come downstairs from the building but we refused. We went to the terrace and came out from the adjacent building," said Adhikari, who had moved to the house earlier in April this year.
Ritik Mathur, who runs a garments business with his father in Gandhi Nagar, said, "I came home around 12.30 am and till then everything was normal. The incident took place around 1 am. I was in the house along with my father, mother, brother and sister. We also have a dog named Buzo. My family members came down through ladders when the fire personnel helped them.” He added that he stayed with the dog till the fire was doused.
“We called the electricity department to cut the supply. The fire tenders also reached late. We somehow got to know about the incident timely. Had it been half an hour more, we would have not survived," he said.
“People jumped from their houses during the incident. My father also asked us to jump from the second floor. However, we gave him hope that firemen will save us and said that there is no need to do anything like that," he said.
Fire officials said that there were many low-hanging open wires in the street due to which it took them more time to reach the spot.
Naresh, who was on the first floor of the building during the fire, jumped from his house and received an injury in his leg. Fire officials said that they have also rescued four to five birds and two dogs from the building.
"There were two dogs and four birds in different flats which were rescued by us. The dogs -- a golden retriever and a labrador -- were on the second and third floors,” the DFS official said.
Four cars, 11 bikes and three cycles were gutted in the incident. One of the cars belonged to Kamal Tiwari, a second-floor resident, who had bought the car only a few days back.
Occupants said the building was constructed in 2008. Five homeowners and three tenants stayed in the building. PTI NIT NIT SKY SKY