Thursday, May 29, 2003
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By Marri Ramu
While Mr. Anil, his wife and two sons escaped unhurt, his office furniture, household articles, library, valuable documents and electronic goods were gutted in the fire. That the nearest fire office was less than a kilometre away was indeed a cruel joke played by fate on the advocate.
``We called up 101 soon after the fire broke out. The fire tender came after 90 minutes. By then, everything went up in smoke,'' laments Anil, tears swirling in his eyes.
But, the Hyderabad Divisional Fire Service officials water down his theory. "We sent a fire tender from Gowliguda Fire Service Station immediately. However, it was diverted to another fire mishap spot near Koti causing some delay in rushing another fire-tender to his house,'' they claimed.
Recalling the nightmarish experience, the advocate said he had noticed smoke emanating from his office room around 1 a.m. He woke up his sons, Anirudh and Yogesh, and wife, Sulbha, and tried in vain to put out the fire. While Anirudh rang up the fire services control room, the others rushed to the Malakpet Fire Station.
``In that shock I couldn't think of anything and rushed to Malakpet as I happened to see that Fire Station several times while passing by,'' he recalled. However, the night-duty fireman, Izaz Ali of Malakpet Fire Station, told them that a fire-tender was already sent to their house by the control room.
When they returned, no fire-tender was found at the house. Instead, the fire fanned out engulfing the entire house even as his neighbours were trying their best to extinguish the fire. "We rushed to Malakpet once again. And it was only due to our persistent efforts that the firemen accompanied us around 2.30 a.m.''
However, a fire engine from the Musheerabad Fire Station had reached his house by then and put out the fire within 10 minutes. "But, it was help that arrived late. Help that never was,'' rued Anirudh and Yogesh.
The Fire Service officials conceded that the fire engine from Musheerabad Fire Station had reached the advocate's house a bit late as the address could not be located easily.
That brings to the fore the first and foremost suggestion issued by the Fire officials -- every minute is valuable once fire breaks out. That, perhaps, is the last thing on their minds.
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