‘It was my duty as a human being’: Crane operator who rescued 50 people during Mundka fire

The crane operator says he has not done anything “extraordinary”.

The blaze, one of the deadliest in recent years, ripped through the four-storey building in Mundka. (Express Photo)

Crane operator Dayanand Tiwari is no less than a ‘messiah’ to many people who he rescued from the building in outer Delhi’s Mundka where a massive fire claimed at least 27 lives and injured many last week.

The 45-year-old, who was passing the building that day with his brother, decided not to wait for the fire tenders to arrive and took matters in is own hand, saving over 50 people trapped in the blaze.

“It was my duty as a human being to help others,” says Dayanand when asked what prompted him to undertake the rescue operation during the early hours of the fire.

The blaze, one of the deadliest in recent years, ripped through the four-storey building in Mundka.

Recalling that day, Dayanand said while passing the area after a day’s work, he and his brother Anil Tiwari saw smoke billowing out of the building and people panicking.

Tiwari also noticed a few people trying to help those stuck in the building.

In the spur of the moment, he too decided to not wait for fire tenders and help people who were stuck.

“I was with my brother Anil Tiwari. We were coming after completing a day’s work. I saw smoke billowing and people screaming (from the building). I and Anil decided to go there and try to do something but due to the fire, the traffic was slow, so we broke the divider and reached the place,” Dayanand said.

There were no escape routes so with the help of the crane, I smashed the glass panel of the building, he said.

“Then we were able to bring out people in a batches of four-six. We were able to save 50 lives,” he said.

However, the temperature started rising near the building due to fire and smoke was also making the rescue operation difficult, he said.

“We then had to stop as it got impossible to rescue people,” Dayanand said.

Dayanand, a father of two, is a native of Bihar, who came to Delhi some 25-year back and has been living in Mundka since then.

The crane operator says he has not done anything “extraordinary”.

“It is our duty as human beings to help others. I dont think I have done something extraordinary. God has strange ways. He put me there so that I can help people,” he said.

Malti was one of the first people who was rescued by Dayanand.

“I cannot imagine what would have happened if the crane was not present in the vicinity to conduct a rescue operation. He came like a ‘messiah’ and rescued so many people,” she said.

Another woman who was rescued by Tiwari said she wouldnt be alive had it not been for him.

“We were looking for an escape route. But the entire staircase was smogged. We were panicking, someone told me that there is a crane. I rushed towards it. I think I would have not been alive if Dayanand Tiwari wasn’t there,” Mamta said.

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