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How three hero cops saved woman from burning building in Delhi

The policemen during the rescue formed a “human chain” and nearly toppled off the building themselves. But they luckily spotted a ladder that proved instrumental in both saving their lives and the rescue effort.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2018 06:58 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
fire,paharganj,rescue
The fire took place around 5.45am on Wednesday in a five storey building in Gali Number 1, a narrow street in Paharganj’s Chuna Mandi.(Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

In a dramatic rescue operation, three policemen risked their lives to save a 50-year-old woman who was dangling from the balcony of a burning building in central Delhi’s Paharganj on Wednesday morning.

The policemen during the rescue formed a “human chain” and nearly toppled off the building themselves. But they luckily spotted a ladder that proved instrumental in both saving their lives and the rescue effort.

The policemen later realised that minutes earlier a 24-year-old man had jumped from the third floor of the building and suffered multiple fractures. “The rescued woman was unhurt and the injured man was expected to survive,” said Mandeep Singh Randhawa, deputy commissioner of police (central).

The incident took place around 5.45am after a blaze was reported from a five storey building in Gali Number 1, a narrow street in Paharganj’s Chuna Mandi. The building serves as a factory-cum-office-cum-residence for manufacturers and workers of acupressure kits, said co-owner of the business Saurav Budhiraja.

There were seven people in the building when the fire broke out, due to a suspected short-circuit on the first floor. While four of the occupants managed to escape, three found themselves trapped on the third floor.

The trapped people included factory staffer Jitender Kumar (24), 52-year-old acupressure therapist Balraj Choudhary and his 50-year-old homemaker wife Ganga Devi. “I had nearly escaped, but realised that my wife was stranded behind. So, I returned to get her along,” said Choudhary.

Later, the couple realised that an escape through the lone exit wasn’t feasible because of the blaze. They then tried to access the terrace only to find it locked. “We tried to break the gate down with our bare hands. We then ran to the balcony on the third floor to look for another way out,” said Choudhary.

Kumar, meanwhile, panicked and decided to jump. “He leaped from the balcony in an attempt to land on the balcony of the building across the road. But he fell on the road instead and broke eight bones,” said Choudhary.

The couple on the other hand planned to scale the wall from their balcony and climb to the fourth floor. Choudhary succeeded in climbing up, but his wife ended up dangling from the balcony grille on the third floor.

“While dangling, she said we both canot die. She urged me to save myself,” said Choudhary, a native of Jodhpur.

It was then that two policemen, head constable Manoj Malik and constable Sandeep Yadav, spotted the fire and rushed to the spot.

“Our first thought was to seek mattresses from the local hotels and ask the woman to jump on it. But we abandoned that plan. We took the stairs of the adjacent building to reach the top floor of the burning apartment,” said Malik.

On the top floor, the policemen luckily found a ladder. But simply lowering the ladder wasn’t going to help. So, constable Sandeep climbed down to a narrow window shade on the side which was a few feet above the balcony.

“The woman had been clinging on to the balcony grille for nearly five minutes by this time. She couldn’t reach the ladder properly. So, Sandeep extended his leg down for her to hold and haul herself up,” said Malik.

During this time, another constable, Amit Yadav, reached the terrace and held on to Malik. “Together, the three policemen formed a human chain to haul up the woman,” said Malik.

First Published: Aug 23, 2018 02:09 IST