Delhi Anaj Mandi fire tragedy: ‘The fire has come inside the building. I can’t breathe’

Knowing that he would not make it alive, Musharraf Ali called his childhood friend, pleading that he take care of his wife and four children.

December 08, 2019 09:30 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 10:58 am IST - New Delhi

Musharraf Ali, who was among the 43 people who died in the devastating fire in Delhi early on Saturday, made a last distress call to his friend Monu Agarwal, as smoke entered the fourth floor hall where he was sleeping.

Knowing that he would not make it out alive, he called his childhood friend and neighbour from Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district, pleading that he take care of his wife and his four children after he was gone.

Here is a transcript of the conversation that was shared by Mr. Agarwal, who arrived at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital to receive Mr. Ali’s body.

The caller was Mr. Musharraf Ali and the receiver was Mr. Monu Agarwal:

Caller: Hello Monu Bhaiya, I am going to die. Please come to Karol Bagh. There is no place to run, fire has broken out.

Receiver: Delhi?

Caller: There is no place to run. I am going to die. Please take care of my family. Bhaiya, I am unable to breathe. What should I do?

Receiver: Can’t you escape? What about fire brigade? Call them, they will bring water.

Caller: Nothing is happening here.

Receiver: How did the fire break out?

Caller: Bhaiya, please take care of my kids and my family. Please don’t tell everything at once. Come tomorrow to take me.

Receiver: Don’t worry, nothing will happen.

Caller: Hai Allah! Now, I can’t even breathe.

Receiver: Haan… People must have fire brigade’s number.

Caller: Downstairs people must have the number and they must have called them. I can’t breathe.

Receiver: Hello… Hello… Hello… Have the water vehicles come???

Caller: The fire has come inside the building. I can’t breathe. Whatever is God’s will. Hai Allah.

Receiver: Try to escape...

Caller: No bhaiya, I can’t… Please take care of my family. Today I am going to die.

Receiver: Come outside. Try to come outside.

Caller: Bhaiya, even if I die, I will come to you. Hai Allah…


Another call was made by 28-year-old Bihar native Shakir Hussain, a father of three.

Mr. Hussain, who worked in a cap manufacturing unit on the fourth floor, told his pregnant wife: “I am trapped. Won’t come out alive.”

Yet another call was made by Imran, 35, elder son of Nafees, who had come to Delhi from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh six years ago.

Mr. Nafees said with a lump in his throat, “I got a call from Imran who said ‘Abbu, a massive fire has erupted in the building. I won’t be able to come out alive. Please save me’.”

“I asked him to call the fire brigade and the call ended soon after. He didn’t pick up my calls again,” said Mr. Nafees, 58, who lost his two sons in the tragedy.

(With PTI inputs)

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