Kolkata: The devastating fire at Surya Sen Market complex here on Wednesday brought out the extraordinary courage of ordinary people who staked their lives to save fellow beings, whom they did not even know personally.
The blaze has thrown up "heroes" like Ranajit Hazra, Sanjoy Giri, Jhantu Sarkar and Sushanta Ghosh, who saved people strangers to them.
Hazra who stayed near the Surya Sen Market said he was awakened by screams coming from the market at 3:40 am.
"I initially thought a dacoity had taken place. After I came out, I saw the fire leaping out through the windows of the building," he said.
Hazra informed the fire-brigade and collected a number of young men who threw buckets of water and tried to enter the burning building.
"I tried to enter the building to bring out those trapped inside but the flames were too intense to go up to the second floor," he said.
Giri and one of his friends managed to enter the building and rescue two of those trapped inside.
"I and a friend managed to enter the building and could bring out two people who were semi-conscious. After coming out I fell ill because of the heavy smoke," Giri said.
Jhantu Sarkar along with Sushanta Ghosh, an official of the market, worked tirelessly since 4:00 am to rescue people trapped inside the building.
"The entire area was covered in smoke and it was impossible to enter without masks. I and some youths broke some windowpanes with bamboo sticks. This released some of the smoke. We managed to save some goods from the fire," Sarkar said.
Nineteen people died and 10 others were injured when a major fire engulfed a five-storey market complex housing shops storing mainly plastics and paper in Sealdah area of the city today.
The fire was detected at 3:50 am in the Surya Sen Market complex housing a godown-cum-office complex when the victims, mostly labourers working in the market, were sleeping.