Even when teams from the Fire Services, CISF and the National Disaster Response Force were pressed into service, local residents volunteered to help, despite the dangers involved

Restaurant owner D. Srinivas of Bansilalpet was on his morning walk along Tank Bund last Monday when he got a call from his friend, informing him that the City Light Hotel and Bakery had collapsed, and that many were feared buried alive.

A true-blue Hyderabadi, Srinivas rushed to the spot only to hear screams and shrieks from those trapped under the debris. The whole area was enveloped by a cloud of dust. Without wasting time, he called up his friends, asking them to bring crowbars and hammers.

Srinivas and 20 others ventured into the debris and extricated at least nine persons. However, two of them were grievously injured and died while undergoing treatment at Gandhi Hospital.

“We continued to help the authorities till 11.30 a.m. before NISA and other teams took up full-fledged rescue operations,” said S.R. Mallesh, a businessman from Ranigunj.

Mallesh, too, rushed to the site to pull out those trapped after he got the news.

“My friends, nearby residents and I managed to bring out at least five people,” he recalled.

Like the duo, several local residents and youngsters hailing from nearby Bansilalpet, Ghasmandi, Ranigunj, General Bazaar, Old Bhoiguda and surrounding areas joined in the rescue efforts much before the trained uniformed personnel came in, emerging as the real heroes for their timely rescue acts.

Even when teams from the Fire Services, CISF and the National Disaster Response Force were busy with rescue operations, the locals too volunteered help despite the dangers involved. Meanwhile, 12 of the injured in the hotel building collapse continue to be under observation at Gandhi Hospital.

Mahankali Additional Inspector A. Srinivas Rao said: “We have identified one deceased person as Banu Srinu from Khammam. He was working as a daily wage worker in the hotel.”

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