A FIRE ACCIDENT
It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I was busy in doing my lessons and homework. Mother was engaged in the kitchen, preparing tea for me. Suddenly, there were shouts and cries and a lot of confused noise. Immediately I rushed out to find out what was all that. I was told that the jhuggis in the neighbourhood were in flames. They had caught fire and it was raging dangerously.
I ran to the place where the fire was raging. I found all the jhuggis on fire. The women, children and men of these huts and jhuggis were simply crying, shouting and wailing helplessly. A big crowd had collected. Amidst hue and cry some of the people were throwing water, others were throwing dust, and still others beat the fire with sticks and rods. But gradually the fire engulfed the whole of dwellings helped by the swift winds.
It was a horrible scene which I can never forget. The poor labourers and workers living there saw their meager belongings burning in the flames. And they were quite helpless. Huge and high columns of smoke and flames were there. People could do nothing except crying and dewailing at their loss.
In the meanwhile somebody had the good sense to inform the fire-station. The fire-engines soon arrived at the site of the fire. The firemen immediately set to the work of fire-fighting. They did their best to control and extinguish the fire. They pumped fast the water in the flames, with their hoses. It took almost two and a half hours to control and then finally to extinguish the fire. They struggled hard and heroically. One of the firemen was seriously injured in the efforts, and a few of them had received burns and bruises.
By the time the fire could be put out, all the jhuggis were heaps of ashes. The charred remains of bricks, pots and pans, and timber lay scattered all over the scene. Thank God, there was no loss of life. But then, they had lost everything including their huts. There were about 500 jhuggis, and 1,500 men, women and children lived in them.
Next day, I learnt from a newspaper-report that this fire was caused because of the carelessness of a visitor. He had come there to meet his younger brother. He had thrown the burning end of cigarette carelessly and soon a heap of rags caught fire. By the time it was detected, the fire had spread over a number of jhuggis.
Most of the fire accidents occur because of our carelessness. Every year there are many fire accidents, resulting in a great loss of property and life. Many of these can be easily avoided if we are more careful, and observe certain rules and regulations regarding fire-protection, etc.