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He saved 6 kids, but fights for life

A weekend outing with his friends for teenager Mohammed Javed turned into a nightmare at Meerut's consumer fair.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 21:46 IST

Teenager Mohammed Javed, who single-handedly rescued six children from the devastating fire at a business fair here on Monday, is now battling for life in the intensive care unit of a hospital.

A weekend outing with his friends for Javed, a student of Class 12 at Sarvodaya School in east Delhi, turned into a nightmare when a major fire broke out at the Brand India fair.

Javed, who had come home on Sunday after a gap of over eight months to meet his parents and two younger brothers, had gone to the fair on Monday afternoon to look at the high-end products being displayed there.

He came out safely from the burning tented enclosure but went back in to help others trapped inside. As Javed rescued a group of children, the brave 18-year-old sustained over 70 per cent burns.

"We never expected such an accident would happen," said Anida, Javed's mother, as she sat outside the intensive care unit, mounting a vigil for her grievously injured son.

With tears in her eyes, Anida said: "Javed saw six kids were stuck in one corner of a tent and so he went back inside the burning enclosure to save them."

Javed's friend Arif said: "Javed tore a part of the synthetic cloth that was used to make the outer cover of the tent to make way for the children.

"When he was about to leave the tent, a burning cloth fell on him, covering him till the knees. Some friends and I then rescued Javed and brought him to the hospital."

At least 50 people were killed in the fire at Meerut, 80 km from New Delhi, and officials fear the toll could mount as many others like Javed were admitted with serious injuries to hospitals.

The fair was being held within three air-conditioned tents that had only two narrow exits each, and hundreds of people were trapped when the blaze started, apparently due to electric short circuit.

The fire spread rapidly as the tents were made of inflammable material and the floor of wood.

Arif said Javed had gone to the fair with friends as they had got together after a long time. Javed seldom visited Meerut after moving to New Delhi three years ago for his studies.

Javed's father Mizaz Ahmed said: "The doctors have said that they do not have some of the equipment required for the treatment of burn victims and ideally we should shift Javed to a bigger hospital in New Delhi.

"But we don't want to take any chance by going out of Meerut as his wounds might get infected and we want him to stay here. We know the people here and they can help us."

Javed is not alone in struggling for life.

Lying not far from him is Paras Vij, 24, who sustained over 50 per cent burns. Doctors have suggested that he too should be taken to New Delhi for treatment as his condition has deteriorated considerably.

"We were told we should take him to Delhi and we are arranging for an ambulance," said Harish, Paras's cousin.

Paras's elder brother Puneet, who too suffered severe burn injuries, was taken to New Delhi's Safadarjung Hospital on Tuesday morning after his condition started to deteriorate.

The tragic incident also took its toll on Sudheer Kumar, who had gone to the fair with his wife. The couple sustained severe burn injuries and they could be shifted to New Delhi.

"This hospital is the best in Meerut but it is nothing in comparison to the standard of treatment in Delhi," said Shailesh Agarwal, Sudheer's father. He said his daughter-in-law Anju had also suffered severe burn injuries and was struggling to survive.