“My friend and her daughters would have been alive had the woman on the top floor given passage to them to reach the terrace. She shouted, screamed and begged for her children’s lives. After a while, everything became quiet,” said Anita Cagre.
Anita’s friend, Mamta, was burnt to death along with two of her daughters — aged 9 years and one-year-old — in a fire at southeast Delhi’s Sunlight Colony on Monday night. The fire was caused by a cylinder blast.
Just 10 minutes before the fire, Mamta was at Anita’s house talking to her about the future of her daughter Pritika (9). The two friends had to cut short their conversation as Mamta had to cook the dinner and feed her one-year-old daughter, Priyanka.
“I wish she had stayed back. Ten minutes after she left, the fire started on the first floor and spread through the entire building. Before Mamta could come down, the fire had cut off the staircase. Later, two more cylinders and an AC compressor exploded. It was a horrific site,” Anita said.
When Mamta tried to reach the terrace instead, she found the gate locked by an old woman who lived on the top floor. The old woman, who lives alone, had rushed to the terrace after locking the gate to save herself from the fire. “Mamta kept screaming for help. She cried and begged the old woman to open the door, but she didn’t respond. Instead of helping Mamta and her two small kids, the old woman locked herself on the terrace refusing them entry. I could hear her scream. I shouted at the woman and told her not to be so selfish, but she did not listen. She survived as my friend and her daughters perished,” she said.
As a last resort Mamta then jumped from the third floor with her daughters but fell inside a shaft where she was charred to death with her daughters.
Mamta, hailing from West Bengal, had been staying in the house for the past seven years. Her husband, who works as an artisan in a diamond studding factory, was out for work at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile, another woman, Mithlesh Gupta, who had jumped from the second floor of the same house to save herself, succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday morning.