‘Fate’ saved woman, killed one son and left another on brink

Son

A cruel twist of fate changed Esaron Bibi's life today. She lost her elder son to the fire on Surya Sen Street. Her younger son is fighting for life. Her husband's illness saved her life.

Esaron used to stay the night in the market complex on Surya Sen Street. She would cook dinner for her sons, who ran shops there. On Tuesday, she got news that her husband had taken ill. She left for Joynagar in South 24-Parganas at night, hours before the devastating fire engulfed the building. Her two sons — Lalchand and Kalachand Purakait — stayed back.

Early this morning, a shop owner called up Esaron and informed her that her sons were trapped in the burning building. Esaron immediately took a train to Kolkata and reached the market at 11 am. She was told that Lalchand was dead and the body was at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. Kalachand was admitted there with critical injuries.

Relatives and locals took a distraught Esaron to the morgue near Mohammed Ali park, where she identified the body of Lalchand. Kalachand was unable to speak, so it was not clear how they were trapped. "I would have stayed back in the market if my husband had not fallen ill," she said.

According to her statement, Lalchand ran a rice shop on the ground floor and Kalachand worked in another shop. At night, Esaron would cook dinner and then they would sleep in one of the shops.

Another family — Radha Gobindo Poddar (60) and his son Ratan Poddar —- used to sleep in their shop. Residents of Taherpur in Nadia district, the Poddars ran a potato business in the complex. Radha's nephew Swapan Poddar said that the fire brigade and police rescued their blackened bodies from the shop at 7.30 am.

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