Sripad Acharya from Tripura, one of the few lucky patients to have escaped certain death as flames engulfed the AMRI hospital on Friday, owes his life to his wife Munna who dragged him down the stairs to safety.
Sripad who lives in Agartala, had been admitted to the hospital after he sustained injuries in a motorbike accident.
Lodged in the Annexe-I building where the fire broke out, Sripad occupied a bed on the third floor and was due to undergo CT scan the next morning.
Munna, who was alone in the rest room on the first floor with her other relatives staying in Tripura Bhavan, recounted her brave feat to reporters.
“I was dozing in the rest room on first floor. A pungent smell filled the air. I was awake. An ayah shouted fire, fire.
She asked me to rush to my husband. Dark smoke in no time filled the floor. I was coughing. My throat felt parched”, Munna said.
As smoke billowed from below, the building was plunged into total darkness. Munna, who had been staying in the hospital since her husband’s admission, groped her way up the stairs to the third floor.
“In fact, I had become used to the stairs and had learnt to adjust the bed during the last few days. But suddenly some nurses caught hold of me in the smoke and tried to prevent me from going but I pushed them away and ran towards my husband’s bed”, Munna said.
“I groped in the darkness and called out to my husband. I reached the bed and found a nurse was trying to lift him“.
“I asked her to leave him and take care of others. I detached the saline tubes and I can’t say now how I could carry him through the smoke-filled staircase to the first floor. I prayed to God to give me strength”, she said.
“Suddenly, I found some young people rushing in. They were local boys and they rescued my husband and myself to safety”, a relieved Munna said.
She said that Sripad would be shifted to AMRI’s Salt Lake facilities for further treatment.