'Extinguished' while saving others

New Delhi - When he learnt that a fire had broken out, he got out of bed and rushed to the spot with four cylinders

By CP Surendran

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Published: Wed 7 Jun 2017, 10:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Jun 2017, 12:45 AM

In the early hours of Tuesday, in Keshavpuram in northwest Delhi, one of the most self-less stories unfolded without any fanfare.

A fire had broken out at a diagnostic and physiotherapy centre in Keshavpuram around 2.30am. Though it began as a minor one, it quickly turned into an inferno. There were 8 people caught in the fire on the ground floor of the four-storey building.

Satbir Sanchal ran a shop selling fire extinguishers nearby. When he learnt that a fire had broken out, he got out of bed and rushed to the spot with four cylinders.

Fifty-four-year-old Sanchal went right into the building and fought the fire. Police officers said the cause of the fire was a short circuit. But this is yet to be confirmed.

As Sanchal was battling the fire, one of the fire extinguishing cylinders exploded and a piece of metal pierced his neck. Sanchal was rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Fire tenders had arrived by this time.

On Tuesday, a forensic team was called in to take fingerprints and evidence from the spot. And the police said a case of negligence had been filed against the owner of the building. But the damage had been done, and Sanchal was no more. His family still can't completely comprehend the tragedy. It has all happened too suddenly.

The fire appears to have broken out from an electrical meter on the ground floor. "The incident took place when most people were asleep. We saw smoke, and heard people screaming outside our building. We tried to come out but got stuck inside," said the building owner Rajesh Gupta, who also runs the centre.

Having brought the fire somewhat under control, Sanchal had entered the building to see if any one else was trapped. It was at this point that the cylinder in his hand burst and a piece of metal pierced his windpipe.

As a police officer said: "In these times of animosity and violence heroes like Sanchal are worth their weight in gold."

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