Wednesday, April 12, 2006 00:18 IST
MEERUT/NEW DELHI: Till Monday morning, the Gaurs — Sanjay and Urmila and their two children Vansaj and Aastha — were a happy family. On Monday evening they were recognised from the pile of dead bodies in Meerut by their shoes, watch and bangles.
Mohammad Javed, a teenager, simply managed to be at the wrong place at the right time. He was passing Meerut when he saw the blazing fire and rushed in. Today Javed has second-degree burns and is unlikely to survive, but the parents of the ten children he saved, will eternally be grateful to him.
The situation at Safdarjung Hospital in the Capital had to be seen to be believed. Because of a shortage of ambulances, burn victims were brought in open jeeps and cars. At Safdarjung, where 25 victims were admitted, the situation was not any better. The air-conditioners in the burns unit started operating only on Tuesday morning.
Relatives looked on in helpless frustration as news about the injured was slow to trickle in. When one of the burn victims Gita Gupta passed away, distraught relatives said they were informed three hours later.
Both in Meerut and Delhi, relatives were running helter skelter trying to locate their relatives. Rakesh Giridhar lost his daughter and can find no trace of his wife. Eleven-year-old Monu was wheeled in at Safdarjung with 40 per cent burns but there was no trace of his mother.