Khokon Bosak, an autorickshaw driver from Parua village in Chattogram’s Rangunia, went to sleep just like another night. Five other members of the family went to bed as well in their tin-roofed house on Thursday night. Hours later, he was jolted awake to the cries of his two children: “Baba, fire! Get out.”
On Friday afternoon, he was lying at the burn unit of Chattogram Medical College Hospital for the treatment of his injuries. The burns were painful, but not as much as the pain of losing his loved ones -- all of them.
In the small hours of Friday, Khokon could escape from his burning house, but his father Kangal Bosak, 70, mother, Lokpriya, 60, wife Lucky, 32, son Sourav, 12, and daughter Shoyonti, 5, were trapped inside by the devastating fire.
“I have no one left. ‘Baba, fire!’ - these words are ringing in my ears,” he said, tears in his eyes.
He is now left with the fond memories of Sourav, a seventh grader, who was learning to play the tabla, and Shoyonti, a grade one student, who loved to dance.
The children used to share a bed with their grandmother at night. They banged on the door of their parents’ bedroom when the fire broke out around 1:45 am. “They cried: ‘Baba, fire! Open the door. I got out with my wife and all six of us stood on the veranda,” Khokon said.
The man asked them to follow him as he was running out of the house in a frantic attempt to save his own life. Now he regrets that he was not able to extricate his loved ones from the leaping flames. He tried to put out the fire with water from a tubewell and cried out to his neighbours for help.
His cousin Sagar Chowdhury described Khokon as a “pious man” who sang spiritual songs in a temple before retiring into his bedroom for the night.
Khokon was under doctors’ observation because he suffered burns on 20 percent of his body, including his respiratory system, according to Rofiquddin Ahmed, head of the CMCH burn unit.
Abdul Hamid Mia, assistant director of Agrabad Fire Station, said they suspect the fire originated from a cooking stove and firewood stored in the kitchen fuelled the flames.
Khokon said the stove in their kitchen was turned off.