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Ludhiana death factory: The heroes who died in the line of duty

The toll in the plastic factory blaze mounted to 13 on Tuesday as six more bodies were pulled out of the rubble.

punjab Updated: Nov 22, 2017 11:45 IST
Aneesha Sareen Kumar and Deepa Sharma Sood
Ludhiana death factory,Ludhiana factory collapse,Capt Amarinder Singh
(From left) Firemen Rajan Bhatia, Vishal Kumar, Raj Kumar and Sumohan Gill. (HT Photo)

The toll in the plastic factory blaze mounted to 13 on Tuesday as six more bodies were pulled out of the rubble. Here are some heartbreaking stories about the men:

Father dies, son survives

The father-son duo had just set off for duty from home in Shimlapuri on Monday when they were informed of the fire at Gola Plastic Factory. Sub-fire officer Raj Kumar, in his 50s, and his fireman son Ajit were quick to react and were on the job when the building came crashing down. Ajit was fortunate to have survived since he had come out of the building at that moment while his father was still inside. On Tuesday, as he was still engaged in rescue work hoping to find his father alive, the latter’s body was pulled out of the rubble. This came just minutes after Manjit Kaur, Ajit’s mother, was consoled by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh with these words: “Miracles do happen.” No, that did not happen.

He came for firefighting despite being on leave

Fireman Rajan Bhatia was on leave on Monday. He had taken leave to get his three-year old son admitted in a private school. However, the call of duty and devotion towards the profession made him rush to the spot to help his colleagues douse the fire. As the news of his death came at mid night, his wife Rekha fainted. “We were talking about our son’s admission when he rushed to the site, never to return,” Rekha said on Tuesday, while consoling her two daughters and a son. Rajan was the sole bread-earner in the family.

Kin just get fire officer’s head for cremation

The sorrow and shock experienced by the family of sub-fire officer Rajinder Sharma cannot be imagined as they got only his head for cremation as the remaining parts of his body were mutilated under the weight of a beam. Sharma, who is among the most devoted officers in the department, is survived by wife and two sons. His elder son, who is settled in Oman, was on his way back home after being told about the tragedy. His younger son is an engineer. Hailing from Amritsar, Rajinder’s wife was not told about the incident till Tuesday evening.

Fireman Ajit and other family members cry after the body of his father Raj Kumar, who was also a firefighter, was found in the factory building’s rubble in Ludhiana on Tuesday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

He got transferred to Ludhiana 3 months ago

Sub-fire officer Sumohan Gill, 54, who was among the 13 people killed in Monday’s tragedy, was transferred to Ludhiana from Amritsar only three months ago. He is survived by his wife and two sons. His body was recovered on Monday.

Young firefighter leaves two minors orphaned

Vishal Kumar, 32, a firefighter with the MC who lost his life in the tragedy, has left behind his two minor sons — six-year-old Ansh and three-year-old Moksh — orphaned as his wife had died last year. He was scheduled to get married again next week. Moksh, who does not know what death is, was confused to see his brother and other family members crying. All he knew was that his father was going to get married for the second time soon. Vikas Kumar, younger brother of Vishal, said that they were preparing for the wedding and now everything has ended. Vikas, who is married, said that now it is his responsibility to bring up his brother’s two children. “I will treat them as my own kids, but I hope we get some assistance from the government,” he said.

Kin still waiting for bodies to be recovered

The families of Sukhdev and Manpreet, both firemen, are among those who are still waiting for the bodies of the deceased. Sukhdev has three minor daughters, the youngest only a month-old. Manpreet, 24, is unmarried. His old and frail parents were at the spot since morning, waiting for their lad’s body to be recovered.

Others who laid down their lives in the line of duty were Puran Singh, 55, leading fireman; Manohar Lal, leading fireman; and Rajan Singh, 32, fireman; and Lachhman Dravid, in his 50s, chief sanitary inspector posted at Pathankot; Inderpal Singh, a taxi operator, factory workers Sandeep and Baldev Raj. Two other deceased were just identified as Amarjot and Ghanaiya, while another was still unidentified.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 11:38 IST