Gurugram: 32-Yr-Old Sacrificed Her Life & Saved Lives Of Many In A Fire In Highrise Apartment
Swati Garg, a 32-year-old interior designer helped save the lives of many when a highrise in Gurugram’s Tulip Orange apartment complex caught on fire late Sunday night. Swati reportedly knocked on doors of other flat owners to alert and rescue them from the fire. Thanks to her efforts, almost everyone but her escaped safely. Rescuers found Swati in an unconscious state near the terrace door almost an hour after the blaze started.
According to The Times Of India, the gate leading to the 10th-floor terrace was locked and Swati was trapped in a stairwell which was filled with smoke. A helpless Swati choked and collapsed on the floor where she died of a possible asphyxiation. Reportedly, firefighters even found fingerprints of Swati next to the gate which indicates that she was trying to find a way out.
The fire is suspected to have started at around 2 am in the morning on the ground floor of Tower B6 at Tulip Orange in Sector 69 of Gurugram. Police said that the fire started due to a short circuit in an electricity meter. The fire spread all the way up to the ninth floor of the tower within minutes but was mostly contained to the power shaft of the stairwell.
The fire department was alerted at 2:28 am and they arrived only at 3:10 am. The Haryana government is yet to build fire stations in the new sectors of Gurugram and hence, the nearest one to respond was in Sector 29 which was 12 km away. For almost an hour, the residents had to tackle the fire on their own before the rescuers arrived. Reportedly, Police Commissioner KK Rao said that a case under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against the developer and the maintenance agency.
Swati Garg alerted other residents
There are 36 flats in the tower where the fire started. Reportedly, Swati and her family were the first ones to react to the fire. Swati, her husband Girish, their four-year-old daughter and Swati’s mother realised that a fire had broken out after a power cut. The family resides on the fifth floor and woke other occupants as well. The family tried to climb downstairs but they couldn’t go any lower as the staircase was engulfed in thick smoke.
The family rushed upstairs in hope to get some respite from the smoke. Wrapping themselves in wet towels, the family started moving towards the upper floors. Girish told the Hindustan Times, “I took my daughter and ran upstairs. My wife and mother-in-law were walking behind. There was too much smoke on the eighth floor and I saw a door was open in one of the (vacant) apartments and took refuge with my daughter. Swati was walking behind with her mother, an asthma patient. I thought she had taken refuge in one of the other apartments.”
However, Girish later learnt that Swati and her mother split. Swati then went to the terrace where she hoped to open the terrace door to provide the much-needed air. Residents said that Swati woke up residents on the fifth, sixth, and seventh floors and alerted them about the fire. Reportedly, no one knew where Swati was until the rescuers discovered her body. Four fire engines arrived at the spot and started evacuating the residents floor by floor. Officials said that by 3:45 in the morning, everyone was evacuated and it took 25 minutes to douse the flame. Swati was reportedly taken to Park hospital in Sector 47 where she was declared dead.
IS Kashyap, an assistant divisional fire safety official said that the society has the NOC (No Objection Certificate) and fire safety norms, however, the terrace gates were locked which is a clear violation of norms. Meanwhile, Praveen Jain, MD of Tulip Infratech denied residents’ allegations that the fire extinguishers were not working and said that all Tulip buildings have the necessary approvals.
Swati Garg died while trying to save the lives of a lot of residents. Cases of fire in high rise buildings have been becoming increasingly common. Developers should follow rules and take extra caution in cases like these. In the meantime, we urge the authorities to take stringent actions against those who are found to be guilty.