Fire destroys families, livelihoods

The Sayyed family said they had lost four members, including Shafi Mohammad Sayyed, who they said was over a hundred years old. "I lost my grandfather, mother, sister and a cousin," Akila Ansari, granddaughter of Sayyed, said.

Dayaram Sony, 45, suffered severe burns on his face trying to save his 18-year-old son Vijay. "We were woken up by the smoke, which was everywhere. My first instinct was to ensure that my son got out of the room," said the scrap dealer who is now admitted in Bhabha Hospital.

Mohammad Issad said he saw his father Chand Mohammad Shaikh (40) fall to his death as he tried desperately to escape the flames. "When my father saw that we could not run out, he made us climb on to the roof and pushed us out on the link road. But as he was about to jump off himself, the roof collapsed and he disappeared," Issad said.

Victims complained that ambulances or the fire brigade showed up late. "People from the nearby shanties ferried the injured to hospitals in taxis," Sampat Sony, who was admitted to Bhabha with burns in his arms and legs, said.

Doctors at the hospital, where eight patients were admitted, said all had 8-10 per cent burns. "The five bodies that were brought to this hospital had 100 per cent burns. It was not even possible to identify their gender," Dr P Jadhav, medical superintendent of Bhabha Hospital, said.

Wahid Ali Khan (32), a hawker who lived on the ground floor of a one-storey structure, lost all his goods. Furniture-maker Jauvad Ali Siddiqui said he had lost nearly Rs 3 lakh. "I had stored all my wood in my home."

VICTIMS

n Chandayuha Riyasuddin Sayyed (18)

n Hasruddin Sayyed (27)

n Surunisa Riyasuddin

Shaikh (45)

... contd.

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