BENGALURU: With horrible scenes of the tragic fire at an apartment in Devarachikkanahalli on Tuesday afternoon still fresh in the minds of Bengalureans, the blast at the New Tharagupet godown understandably ushered in panic. But it also presented selfless help from complete strangers who helped panicking children and elders in the immediate neighbourhood of the ill-fated godown.
Homemaker Sujitha N (34) who lives in the building next to the godown, had just left to buy provisions from a nearby store, when the blast occurred. Her two children, aged eight and four, were at home with her septuagenarian mother, a cardiac patient. Sujitha ran back to find heavy smoke billowing from the godown.
“I panicked when I heard my kids and mother screaming for help,” she said. “I feared the worst, that they were caught inside with broken window panes and glass pieces all over, and could be badly hurt, or even worse.” But help was at hand from unexpected quarters. Two men who were having tea at a nearby tea stall, rushed to help.
“We could hear my children shouting for help, and the men ran in, trampling broken glass, to bring my kids and mother out,” she said, visibly shaken at the thought of losing her dear ones. The two men then went their way to help others.
“I was unable to even thank them for what they did as complete strangers!” said Sujitha. Anand BN, who lives in the same building, was at work when he received a call informing him about the incident. He collapsed on hearing about it, fearing it was a repeat of the Devarachikkanahalli incident. “My friends and colleagues helped me reach home within a few minutes. I calmed down only when I saw my wife, children and family members safe,” he said.
Devaraj B, who shifted the two bodies into an ambulance, said, “Initially, I was scared to touch the bodies as the legs and hands had separated from the torso. When police reached the spot, my friends and I lifted the bodies and also helped fire personnel douse the fire.” Ilangovan, father of Manjunath, who was injured, said, “My son got down to take his bike to the gym. I was on the first floor, and came down on hearing the blast. My son was injured on his head and leg, and is recovering in the ICU.”