Gautam Gupta (54) and his son stayed inside their first-floor room for 30 minutes after the fire broke out early Tuesday morning. Gupta, who came for a meeting from Kanpur, had first noticed commotion in the gallery outside their room.
Staying at room number 206, the father-son duo were confronted with death as the fire engulfed the building. Leaving through the door was not an option.
“Those 30 minutes were the most difficult time of our lives. We had to open the windows of our room as we couldn’t breathe. Smoke had entered our room and we were waiting for authorities to rescue us,” said Gupta, who was eventually taken down by firefighters using a Skylift.
Also among the survivors was a four-year-old girl from Nepal, Saumya Shreshtha, who was taken to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital because she couldn’t breathe.
“She was kept under observation throughout the day. She had problems breathing and her lungs were choked because of the smoke. Her attendants came to pick her up in the evening,” said a doctor at the hospital, where three of the injured were admitted.
P C Som Shekharan and his wife Beena, too, had a narrow escape even as members of their family were charred to death trying to leave the burning building.
While the wife was admitted to BLK hospital, Som Shekharan sat outside the mortuary of RML hospital to identify the bodies of his mother, brother and sister. The family was here to attend a wedding. “We visited many tourism spots in Delhi on Monday. Just a few days ago, I was taking photos of my mother during a visit to Kalindi river; she was overjoyed to be there. My mother was in the washroom when the fire broke out; she tried to run but couldn’t escape,” said her son.