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Cellphones a lifeline, rings and watches help identification

Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 17:46

Kolkata: The ubiquitous mobile phone was the
last lifeline for some after fire engulfed Stephen Court on
Tuesday afternoon, while rings and watches were the only means
of identification of victims who failed to exit the building.

Pritish, who had joined the office of an IT company on
March one in the building at Park Street, called his mother
Pranati, from his mobile phone, his father Pankaj Ghosh said.

"I am in great distress. There is fire all around," said
Ghosh while recounting the last time his son called home
before the link snapped.

Ghosh and his relatives are still frantically searching
for Pritish who remains missing.

But Pompa Chatterjee, who called home terrified after the
fire erupted, is no more. She was crying as she spoke to her
family members on her mobile saying she was trapped and would
die, a family member said.

"We heard her frantic cries briefly," she said.

Pompa`s father Debu Chatterjee and mother rushed to
Stephen Court after hearing about the fire and identified
their daughter`s body at the morgue at SSKM Hospital.

Bidyut Acharya, who worked at a call centre, called his
brother-in-law Biswajit Roy after finding himself surrounded
by flames. "My office is on fire, do something," he implored.
The line, then, disconnected immediately.

"I called back twice, the phone rang, but there was no
response," Roy, who has been searching for Bidyut, said.
For Arati Sharma, who is on the missing list, it was
initial days in her new company.

A girl from Asansol, who stayed in the metropolis as a
paying guest, Sharma had called her father to inform him in
the morning that she was leaving for office with a promise to
call in the afternoon. But there was no call.

Sunita Saha had rushed to Park Street after hearing on TV
that the building where Rajendra Samanta, her fiance, worked
was on fire. She found his charred body at the hospital

"His wristwatch helped me to identify the body," a
tearful Saha said. They had planned to get married in August,
relatives said.

Many of the bodies could only be identified by rings or
watches that the victims, mostly youths and IT professionals,
were wearing.

Also, 18-year-old twins Bijay and Jay Khandelwal, who had
joined a private firm in the ill-fated building, were taken
away together by the blaze.


First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 17:46
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