Srinagar, Apr 23: At least seven houses were gutted at Namchabal area of Fateh Kadal here late last night rendering 10 families homeless.
Around 10:20 pm on Friday, Waseem Ahmad was putting his kids to sleep at Namchabal area, when he heard people screaming. He went outside and saw his neighbour’s house up in flames. As he saw huge flames approaching his own house, Ahmad sprinted back to get his kids downstairs,
“After rescuing my daughter and son, I went inside again to grab some clothes, but the fire was all over the first floor, making it impossible to even stand on the stairs,” lamented Ahmad, a driver by profession.
Seven houses were destroyed in the overnight blaze leaving 10 families homeless.
The locals said that when the first fire brigade came, the pipe they used was leaking heavily at three spots, decreasing the output pressure of the water. “It was only after firefighters from other branches came, they were able to control the blaze,” said one Riyaz Ahmed.
Witnesses said that despite being just a kilometre away, firefighters took over thirty minutes to reach the spot.
They said, “When we made the emergency call, they (Firefighters) asked us to get a police verification first.” The claim was however disputed by the leading Fireman of Badabem Brarinambal Fire Station, who refused to identify himself by name.
As per the Leading Fireman, they reached the spot around 11:20 PM, “We received the first call at 11:10 pm, however, after reaching the perimeter, we couldn’t initiate the operation as the approaching way through the nearby Cluster University was locked and the gatekeeper took time to open it. This delayed the extinguishing operation by 8-10 minutes,” the Fireman said.
Mohammad Rafiq Mir, from whose house the fire started, said that he was downstairs with his family when someone shouted from outside “Ya Naar Ha” (There is a fire).” Mir said that he checked and saw the flames coming out from the attic of his home.
“There was no gas cylinder, no electricity connection, nothing flammable. I can’t comprehend what ignited the flames,” said sobbing Mir.
The inferno was finally extinguished successfully around 2:30 am on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.
The houses of Muhammad Ashraf Mir, Muhammad Shafi Mir, Owais Ahmad Mir and Muhammad Rafiq Mir, Arslan Ahmad Kar and Parveena, Tauseef Ahmad Kumar, Waseem Ahmad and Rameez Ahmad were completely destroyed. The houses of Jalal ud Din Dar and Mohammad Amin Dar were partially damaged.
Last year, Jalal ud Din Dar’s and Mohammad Amin Dar’s houses were completely destroyed in fire.
Meanwhile, on the directions of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad, a team of District Administration, Srinagar today visited Namchabal Fateh Kadal to provide immediate assistance/ex-gratia relief to the affected families whose houses were gutted in a fire incidents on Friday.
The District Administration provided immediate assistance out of the Red Cross in the form of 85 blankets, 51 mattresses, 51 bed sheets and 17 kitchen sets, besides Rs 85000 to all 17 affected families 5000 each as an interim relief under Red Cross.