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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ludhiana factory blaze & collapse: Body of fire officer recovered minutes after Amarinder asks kin to hope for a ‘miracle’

Body of fire officer recovered minutes after Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh asks kin to hope for a ‘miracle’

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Updated: November 22, 2017 11:30:37 am
Fire officer dies during rescue operation in Ludhiana fire blaze Sub fire officer Raj Kumar’s kin at the site in Ludhiana Tuesday. Gurmeet Singh

The policemen, teams of the disaster relief force and others involved in the rescue operation at the building collapse site in Ludhiana had moist eyes Tuesday as more bodies were pulled out from debris in mutilated state. Minutes after CM Captain Amarinder left the spot after consoling the family of sub fire officer Raj Kumar and asking them to “hope for a miracle”, the deceased officer’s son, also a fireman, came crying haplessly as the body of his father was pulled out from the debris.

Sunny, also a fireman, was on duty with his father when the polymer factory caught fire Monday. When the building collapsed, his father was inside and he had come out for a break as flames were almost “controlled”. “There was an explosion and in no time, building came down like a pack of cards,” remembers Sunny. He kept sitting near the debris hoping to locate a body part of his father or hear his voice. “I kept calling him so that hearing my voice he may respond. He did not,” says Sunny, who sat near the debris overnight hoping for a miracle.

As Sunny informed the family that his father’s body was recovered, Rajkumar’s wife and sister, also present at the spot, broke down. Raj Kumar’s sister said, “He was my only brother. Why did God do this to us?”

Sunny, in his firefighting uniform since Monday, said, “I knew he was no more, but I had no guts to tell this to my mother. I kept telling them he was alive and I could see him moving under the debris. I knew there would be no miracle but I kept giving them hope.” A few minutes after the body of Raj Kumar was found, another body was located by the rescue team. It was a decapitated body whom the firemen recognized as the another sub fire officer Rajinder Sharma. His family, including son and an old father, were not in condition to talk. They had just arrived from Amritsar. Initially, they were not informed that the decapitated body found is that of Sharma. “We never imagined in our lives that a day will come when our colleagues will leave the world this way. Our fire department family has been devastated in a fraction of seconds. Is this why we put our lives in danger to see our own men dying this way,” said a fireman.

Meanwhile, Prakash Singh, father of missing fireman Sukhdev Singh, after seeing the fate of Raj Kumar and Rajinder Sharma, was almost prepared. “My name can be called anytime. I do not know he is dead or alive, but I just want to see him once. I want his mortal remains. His three children are waiting back home,” he said.

Family of another missing fireman Manohar Lal, however, refused to leave hope. “Maybe we will see a miracle. How can we leave hope till we do not see with our own eyes that he is no more,” said his son Naman Hans.

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