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Girl killed in Delhi Sadar Bazar fire looked forward to new school session | Latest News Delhi

The 12-year-old girl, who was suffocated to death along with her younger sister when a portion of their house caught fire in Delhi’s Sadar Bazar on Tuesday, looked forward to her first day at school after session break on Wednesday.

A short circuit in an air conditioner is believed to have led to the fire. (ANI)

“On Tuesday morning, she woke up early and went to the school to buy her books for the new session. Wednesday would have been the first day at the school’s senior wing. She was very excited to go to the same wing as her sister,” said their uncle Asif Qureshi, 40, as he sat in the parking area of the house with other mourners. “She had also bought a new dress, bag, lunch box, and water bottle.”

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Gulashna, 16, and Inaya, 12, were asleep on the second floor while their mother Gulista was on the first when the fire broke out. Their two brothers aged eight and 19 were away.

A relative said Gulista ran out when the house caught fire. He added only after coming downstairs, she realised the girls were on the second floor. “She immediately tried to run upstairs but was stopped by a house help who offered to go himself but he could not because of smoke and heat,” he said. Hours later, the bodies of the sisters were found in a bathroom.

Qureshi said the first fire tender reached the spot within 10 minutes. He added the firefighters, however, lacked the necessary equipment. “They had a few gas masks…there was no oxygen…which is why they could not go inside. The fire tenders with proper equipment reached after about 40 minutes. In such situations, even a minute counts. We feel that if the first responders had proper equipment, the kids might have been saved.”

Delhi fire services director Atul Garg said it is standard protocol that the first fire tender goes to a spot with basic equipment. “Once firefighters are at a scene, they share their requirement and that is dispatched accordingly. We will look into the matter.” Garg said four fire tenders were pressed into service. “It is suspected that a short circuit in an air conditioner of a mini theatre led to the fire,” Garg said

Haji Salim Shabbu, the father of the girls, remained inconsolable. “I am too broken to say anything… extremely shattered,“ said Shabbu, a meat exporter who was away for work when the fire broke out.

Qureshi said Gulashna skipped school on Tuesday though her session had started a few days ago. “They were staying up late these days because of holidays and the festivities and would sleep in the afternoon,” he said. He added Inaya was interested in science and was more studious. Gulashna loved to paint, the family said.

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