A few hours before the fire started,Esaron Bibi,who used to sleep in Surya Sen market,had rushed to be with her ailing husband. Her two sons stayed back. One is dead,the other is hanging on to life at Calcutta Medical College Hospital.
Not long after she reached Joynagar in South 24 Parganas to be with her husband,Esaron received a call: A fire had broken out in the complex and her sons Lalchand and Kalachand Purakait were trapped. She got on the first train to Kolkata and arrived at 11 am. By then,Kalachand was in hospital,seriously injured. Lalchand was there too. In the morgue.
It was fate,Esaron said after coming out of the morgue,that saved her,but took her sons life. Lalchand had a rice-shop on the ground floor, Kalachand worked in a shop. Esaron cooked for them and slept in the shop. I would have stayed in the market if my husband had not fallen ill.
Kalachand was in no condition to speak,so Esaron could only guess why they were trapped: The ground floor of the complex turned into a vegetable godown at night with no space to move around.
Radha Gobindo Poddar,60,of Taherpur in Nadia district and his son Ratan Poddar,too,slept in their shop which sold potatoes. Both were killed in the fire.
Kajol Biswas of Contai in East Midnapore learnt about the fire from television news channels and dialled Mithun Jana,her pregnant daughters husband who worked and slept on the first floor. She could not get through. She then rushed to the market but Jana wasnt there. Then someone suggested she go to the morgue at the hospital. She found Janas body there.
Swapna Pals husband Gosai Pal of Habra sold cigarettes,and stayed the night in the market complex. He,too,was killed in the fire.