Tushar Badoliya Prajapati (19) sustained injuries after jumping off the terrace of a three-storey building in Vijay Nagar locality here as a major fire engulfed it on early Saturday morning. But when he watched YouTube videos of the devastating blaze while lying on a bed at the Maharaja Yashwantrao Hospital, he felt as if he had got another life, escaping death narrowly.
Some others were not as lucky — the fire claimed the lives of seven people, including a couple.Prajapati, who hails from Dewas and works with a share-broking firm in Indore, lived in his friend’s flat in the building. But as luck would have it, he and a few of his friends were sleeping on the terrace on Friday night, and thus they were not trapped inside.
I woke up with the strong smell of smoke in my nostrils. I kicked the door which led inside from the terrace, but it did not open. I saw flames leaping up and smoke billowing, and heard the cries of people who were trapped below, he said.Prajapati then thought that the only way to escape was to jump onto the roof of the house right behind the building. “The roof of that house was 12 feet below, he said in a choked voice.
He shone his mobile phone’s torch down, and saw that there was a gap of three feet between the two buildings. “I took courage in both hands, estimated the distance, and jumped off,” he said.He landed on the roof but lost balance and sustained injuries. Hearing the crash, some onlookers came to his rescue and rushed him to hospital.
Since morning I have watched videos of the fire several times….I feel I have got a rebirth, he said, shuddering with the thoughts of what could have been his fate otherwise. I was sleeping on the terrace and that is why the fire did not engulf me, he added.Vinod Solanki (30), another person who was sleeping on the terrace, also jumped off, but fell into a drain 50 feet below, Prajapati said.
MYH superintendent Dr Pramendra Thakur said Solanki sustained 40 per cent burns and also broke several bones. “Seven people were brought dead to hospital from the spot. The bodies started coming in around 6 am,” he said.The fire erupted between 3 and 4 am following a short circuit in the electricity meter box on the ground floor of the building located in Vijay Nagar’s congested Swarna Bagh Colony area, officials said.
“The area around the building’s main door and the staircase got enveloped in flames and black smoke, while the door that led to the terrace from the third floor turned extremely hot, due to which most of the people got trapped inside. Some people rushed to the balcony of their flats to save themselves,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Sampat Upadhyay.Akshay Solanki, an onlooker, said, “Afterwards, the bodies of two or three victims were brought out. They were charred beyond recognition. “Had fire brigade people arrived in time, lives could have been saved,” he said.
Videos on social media showed flames and thick smoke enveloping the building, causing sparks in electricity cables with people crying and screaming for help.Local people could also be seen making futile attempts to put out the fire with buckets of water.