Early Sunday morning, Monu Aggarwal got a call from his friend of many years Muhammad Musharraf. The odd hour of the call notwithstanding, nothing could have prepared Aggarwal for what he heard next.
“There is no escape route, no option at all… ghar ka dyaan rakhna,” 30-year-old Musharraf told his friend from his home town in Bijnor as to Hindustan Times.
Hours later, waiting for Musharaff’s body, Aggarwal said he had tried to encourage his friend to find a way out. “I could hear screams of people in the background,” said Aggarwal.
He played the conversation that he had recorded when he realised what was happening. The voice was that of a person who had lost hope.
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“I can’t even breathe,” Musharraf is heard saying.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, a phone call from Sahjad, one of the trapped workers, woke his parents up at 5 am.
“He sounded like he was sobbing. He kept saying that the building was on fire, that it was a massive blaze and that he may not survive. His father woke us up immediately,” said his uncle Mohammad Ilias.
The call dropped and Sahjad’s parents couldn’t connect to him anymore. Soon, they got to know that Sahjad was dead.
Another worker, Raju, too called his friend, Furqan Ahmed, while being trapped inside the building. Ahmed, who works in another factory in the same neighbourhood, said that he received the call at 4.50 am.
“His voice was unclear but he begged me to rescue him. He said there was fire and smoke all around. I asked if he and others called the police for help, but I couldn’t hear his response. The conversation lasted only 30-40 seconds,” Ahmed said.
At the time of going to press, Raju’s whereabouts were unknown.
“I am trapped. Won’t come out alive,” were the final words of 28-year-old Bihar native Shakir Hussain, a father of three, during his phone call to his pregnant wife before a cloud of toxic smoke overpowered his senses during a major fire at a building in north Delhi on Sunday.
Zakir Hussain, 32, recalled the nightmarish experience of his younger brother who was brought dead to the LNJP Hospital here after the horrific blaze that has claimed 43 lives and left many others injured.
The Hussains, hailing from Madhubani district of Bihar, had planned to go shopping on Sunday, but fate willed otherwise.
“After getting trapped in the billowing smoke, Shakir made the last call to his pregnant wife and told her — ‘I am trapped. Won’t come out alive’,” recalled the tearful brother.
Shakir leaves behind three children, two girls and a boy.
“He was about to have another child, but he left his kids fatherless,” Zakir said.
“He was about to have another child, but he left his kids fatherless,” Zakir said. Shakir had been working in a cap-manufacturing unit on the fourth floor for the last three years, the brother said after identifying his body.