Dilshad Colony fire: Sarees, human ladders help rescue trapped people out of burning building
On Friday, as haphazardly parked cars delayed fire fighters, trapped occupants of a burning building in east Delhi’s Dilshad Colony used wooden ladders and sarees to commence rescue work. Neither of the options was safe, but local residents had no other choice if they wanted to save lives. They pressed ropes made of sarees and wooden ladders into action.delhi Updated: Jul 07, 2017 23:21 IST
On Friday, as haphazardly parked cars delayed fire fighters, trapped occupants of a burning building in east Delhi’s Dilshad Colony used wooden ladders and sarees to commence rescue work. Neither of the options was safe, but local residents had no other choice if they wanted to save lives.
With the building’s main exit becoming inaccessible because of motorcycles burning in the parking lot, a family living on the first floor decided to lower a wooden ladder from their balcony on the building’s rear side.
Two members of the family then climbed down before the ladder broke. “One child was left dangling from the broken ladder while two others were still trapped inside. Some of us immediately formed human ladders to save the members of that family,” claimed Devashish Hota, a resident of the ground floor and the first one to spot the blaze.
On the other side, meanwhile, another rescue operation had started. Binesh Rathi, a chemistry teacher, and her family found themselves trapped on the second floor. Their flat is adjacent to the one in which four persons were found dead due to asphyxiation.
Left with no escape routes, Rathi brought out a saree and lowered it down her balcony and urged her two children to climb down. The saree did not reach the ground and the children had to jump down the last few feet, landing on some people below who had positioned themselves to soften their landing.
“But as Binesh’s husband was climbing down, he received an electric shock from a dangling wire and fell. Binesh who was following close behind panicked and she too fell,” recounted another local. Binesh suffered fractures while her husband escaped with relatively lesser injuries. Both were hospitalised, but are out of danger.
Hota believes that most residents were groggy in the morning and that impacted the rescue. “I was calling them to come down to my flat so that I could help them out through my back door. But people panicked and were not responding to my calls,” said Hota.
Residents of this neighbourhood had already witnessed two other blazes in the last 10 days, but this was the first to claim human lives. In February last year, four members of a family were killed in a similar blaze in a DDA flat a few kilometres from Friday’s incident spot. “The electricity wires installed in our building are not capable of handling huge loads. These wires were fixed 16-17 years ago when these buildings were constructed. The electricity department should have revamped them as per electricity demands,” said Aman Sharma, occupant of the top floor of the building.
Police have registered a case of causing death by negligence and their initial probe has pointed to short-circuit in the electricity metres as a probable cause. A forensics team has been pressed into service to check if there was any foul play too.