Ten-year-old Hrishikesh Joshi’s grandmother, Prabha Kulkarni put the lives of her daughter, son-in-law and grandson before her own when she rushed to fight the fire that left the three of them charred to death.
Kulkarni (65), who often come over to live with her daughter’s family, was asleep when she first smelled something burning in their room in the 100-year-old Sharda chawl on Lamington Road.
After the fire grew too dangerous to be fought by the residents alone, her neighbours had to drag her out of the burning house to keep her alive. Her neighbours said Kulkarni, who was in shock after the fire was contained, had told them that a few minutes before the fire broke out, Hrishikesh had climbed down from the loft where he was sleeping with his parents, sipped some water and climbed back up.
Kulkarni ran into their neighbour Nerurkar, a spinster. “Kulkarni, with help from Nerurkar, raised an alarm and woke up the other neighbours on the floor,” said another neighbour, Sandeep Amre who pulled Kurkarni out of the house.
“Kulkarni had even poked the Joshis from below to alert them about the fire but it was too late and the flames had spread across the room,” said Devendra Kalekar, another resident.
“Kulkarni was not ready to leave the house and had to dragged out. Otherwise we wouldn’t have saved her. She was coughing due to asphyxiation after she was brought out,” added Kalekar, who owns a shop in the vicinity.