|Aditi Gupta, whose parents Ved Prakash and Kavita Gupta were battling for their lives till late on Thursday after having suffered more than 90 per cent burn injuries in a fire caused by leakage from the LPG cylinder in the kitchen of their Girish Park house on Wednesday evening. The 17-year-old, who has her Higher Secondary exams from March 13, suffered minor burns while trying to rescue her father.
Picture by Sayantan Ghosh
“My fingers are burnt but that is nothing compared to what my parents are going through. They must be in so much pain,” says Aditi Gupta.
Her parents, Ved Prakash and Kavita Gupta, are battling for life having suffered more than 90 per cent burn injuries in a fire caused by leakage from the LPG cylinder in the kitchen of their Girish Park house on Wednesday evening,
The 17-year-old, whose Higher Secondary exams are less than a fortnight away, suffered minor burns while trying to rescue her father.
On Thursday, the student of Sree Digambar Jain Balika Vidyalaya, recounted the horror to Metro.
I was in the second-floor room studying for my HS exams, which begin on March 13. I heard some sounds which seemed like explosions, but I did not pay much heed as they were not very loud.
But minutes later, I heard a cry of “aaaahhh…aaaaah….” I knew it was Papa, though I had not ever heard him sound like that.
I opened the door leading to the terrace and saw him... in flames! He was groaning in pain and saying, “Humko bachao (save me).”
I ran back to the room, got hold of a quilt and wrapped him with that. I then made him lie down on the terrace.
We always have a pitcher of water on the terrace for the plants. I instinctively reached for that and poured the water on him.
The flames were doused but he was writhing in pain.
Papa told me to dial the fire brigade’s number. ‘Beti, tum chali jao,’ he said, urging me to escape to safety.
From my cell phone, I dialled 101, the fire brigade’s number, and told them: ‘I am Aditi Gupta and there has been a bhayankar (deadly) fire in our house at 22 Sarkar Bylane. Please come fast.’
We spoke for a minute or so. After disconnecting I also dialled 100 but those on the other end could not comprehend what I was saying. They just kept saying ‘hello hello...’.
While all this was happening, I had caught a glimpse of my mother rushing towards a balcony. There was no way I could reach her because of the fire and smoke.
Papa kept telling me “Beti, tum jao.”
I could understand he was trying to save me but how could I leave him like that? He was just writhing in pain.
I knew I had to get help and rescue him. But how?
[By then, smoke from the first-floor kitchen had blocked the staircase leading to the exit.]
I decided to jump from our terrace to the adjoining one and then to the next one. That is how I managed to reach the street below.
Some firemen had arrived by then and I urged them to go up the way I had come down so that they could reach our terrace and rescue my parents. They paid no heed to me and I was shoved away.
I kept pleading with them that I knew the way to the terrace but they just refused to listen to me.
So much precious time was wasted. I think close to an hour...
My elder brother Yash (19, a second-year student at Anandamohan College), was not at home when the fire broke out.
Arriving at the spot, he immediately took the terrace route — jumping from one terrace to another with another boy. A few firemen followed.
On reaching the terrace, Yash managed to pierce the plastic pipe connected to the water tank and drain the water on my father.
My brother and this other boy lifted him up and with the help of the firemen brought him down.
Papa was conscious and he even managed to limp to the ambulance. But he was in so much pain.
Yash had also gone to rescue our mother. But she was more worried about him and said, ‘Tum chale jao… main poora jal chuki hoon, main nahin bachoongi (You please go, I am fully burnt and I won’t survive).’
She was lifted into an ambulance and taken to the hospital.
I now realise that my parents had come up to the second floor because they knew I was studying there. They had come to alert me about the fire and save me.
As told to Jhinuk Mazumdar