Mohammad Hasan had bought two lockers — one to store important documents like identification and property documents, the other contained Rs 25,000 in cash, and wedding clothes.
When the blaze broke out, Hassan was at the local butcher shop. He bolted towards his house only to find that the flames had melted both his lockers. His family, however, was safe. “The clothes that I am wearing are the only ones left. I am glad my family is safe. After the fire was put out, we got the two lockers out. They were completely destroyed. My daughter will not be able to get married this year,” Hasan said.
The locals told The Indian Express that about 15 weddings , that were supposed to take place in October and November, have been postponed indefinitely.
“I had stocked up on my daughter’s dowry. We had bought several kitchen appliances, clothes and gold ornaments. I am a labourer, and it took me a good part of the year to put together money for the purchase,” said Amir, sitting amid a pile of smouldering heap which used to be the entrance to his house.
Irshad, who had got married 15 days ago, had tucked the numerous weddings gifts under his bed, and in a locker. “My wife’s family had gifted me a gold chain and some rings. Since I was wearing them, they were spared. My friends and in-laws gifted me several household items which perished,” he said.
The blaze at the slum cluster near Dhobhi Ghat, Batla House, wiped out several hundred families’ savings within 10 minutes, as it burnt through wooden doors, melted iron lockers and engulfed chicken coops and barns.
Fatima, who managed to save two of her grandchildren, but lost livestock, said, “I had nine sheep and two lambs. Ten of them died in the blaze. One of them got out and it was on fire. It died a painful death. They were our only source of livelihood,” said Fatima.
Mohammad Moin had renovated his house for his daughter’s wedding in November. Now, only the elvester sheets remain, untouched by the flames.
“I spent two months getting those sheets… now we just have the sheets and two chickens which were spared by the flames,” he said.