Ludhiana: A minor fire on the third floor of a five-storied building at Feroze Gandhi Market here triggered panic on Tuesday night, as four caretakers inside were too scared to leave the complex and firefighters had to go in to rescue them.
The fire was reported around 8.30pm, according to the owner of the building. Though the blaze, said to be caused by an electrical short circuit, was brought under control within an hour of the fire brigade arriving on the scene, there was a high drama before that as the four caretakers — Ram Dutt (87), Ram Beti (70), Gill Devi (40), and Guddi (35) —started shouting for help from the terrace.
The flames were limited to the coaching institute in which the fire broke out. However, there was smoke all over the third floor and that panicked the caretakers, as they were under the impression that the entire floor was on fire.
The caretakers had been staying on the terrace to take care of the building at night. When they saw smoke bellowing out of the floor below, they started screaming for help. They informed the coaching institute’s owner, Vinod Kumar, about the blaze and he then sounded the fire brigade.
MC sub-fire officer Srishti Nath said firemen went to the terrace of the building to bring down the caretakers as they were panicking. “We just climbed up the stairs and walked down with them,” he said. “They were our top priority. Once they were safe, we started controlling the fire.”
He said they brought the situation under control within an hour. “It was not a major fire, but people inside panicked. Luckily, we were informed on time,” he added.Kumar said he left work around 6.30pm and got a call from one of the caretakers around 8.30pm. “They told me about smoke coming out of the office. While I phoned the fire brigade immediately, I reached the building first and opened the shutter. But all had been gutted,” he said.
Soon after, the fire brigade arrived on the scene. “There was no fire around the staircase, but the caretakers were too worried,” he said.
Feroze Gandhi Market is considered a busy commercial area of the city. Thousands of people frequent it daily as it has commercial complexes, banks, coaching institutes, the office of Ludhiana Improvement Trust, ad court complex. A similar incident during the day could have resulted in injury.