SSMU: The real story behind the fire incident.

That day, I was in a deep sleep, dreaming about something I can't really decipher now.
It was Sunday, the fourteenth of February 2016. I was caught up with my dream when I heard the alarm go off, it was once. Then I heard it again and there was an announcement first in Russian then in English.
I didn't want to wake up from my deep slumber. So I kept dreaming with the occasional noises outside my door, it sounded like the usual hustle and bustle but awfully early for a Sunday morning. I kept dreaming.
Until I could smell a pungent smoke, I was stark awake at the thought that something is burning, I got up and checked my room for a possible combustion. Then I went out and my block was chaotic though I chose to ignore them because they always over react. I asked them about the fire they only told me to go downstairs. The announcement was repeating. I got my coat and slipped into my slippers  and with my keys and mobile I headed out the door. 
The moment I entered the corridor of my sixth floor dormitory I could see nothing but smoke, it was blinding to the point of walking only with  my estimation. When I reached the middle stairwell (our actual fire exit) I was almost exhausted. It was a chaotic situation, everyone was panicking and the fellow students were not moving down the staircase. I was choking in the smoke and so was everyone else with me, my eyes were watering continuously and I couldn't breathe at all. I started shouting and kept pushing for them to move ahead but in a minute my voice went inaudible even to me, I tried holding onto my breath due to the smoke but I'd to let go, I just couldn't breathe. For a moment or two I almost gave up, and thought I would faint. That was when I just started making my way, fighting downstairs from the chaos, as and when we descended the smoke grew thicker and thicker, air was nowhere, but  they were moving slowly  ‘cause we were a lot at once and I heard girls cry out loud that they couldn't  see or breathe but I was in no position to help them myself so I somehow managed to get to the third floor where there finally was the much needed oxygen. I saw through teary eyes that our authorities (including Dr.Alok Aeron) were already there helping the students and directing the firemen. I was coughing badly, and my eyes wouldn't stop watering and I still kept going until I was outside my dormitory. 

It was until five minutes that I kept coughing continually, and wiped my tears with my bare hands. People were still descending down the stairs and I could see few were stuck upstairs especially on my floor. I saw the firemen move everyone outside, not allowing anyone to stand inside near the reception. In the next 10 mins the entire dormitory was evacuated. 

Except for those two unfortunate girls. Shockwaves passed through when I heard what had happened, a surge of emotions emerged within. I was baffled, scared, shocked, angry all at the same time. We were all standing in the cold for the longest time (mostly out of choice) and were then directed towards the third dormitory. It  was the most saddening day for our faculty, and we were all in deep  mourning. We'd lost our own people. For the closest friends circle it was like a thunderstorm. They'd lost their friends who they'd see everyday, morning and night, in classes and in dormitory. They were crying, worried and in denial. It was unbearably heartbreaking. 

And the entire dormitory was relocated to various different other dormitories. With the few things that we'd of our own, our classes commenced. Entire week we have all been  struggling through,like a living nightmare. Our university, Dean, Vice chancellor, and Dr.Alok Aeron have put in their best efforts so that we would be able to get back to normalcy. Our teachers and professors met us that very day, a panel of psychologists was arranged to help students deal with the trauma. Every dormitory the girls are  relocated in has one of our teachers every two days to help students in their trying time. 

Then as the week progressed, we heard the insensitive comments and remarks about our university and its administration, we kept quiet. We were all in mourning and didn't care about all that was said. And then it continued with the recent article in which the acclaimed writer Shobhaa De somehow managed to add 100years to our university, stating we'd no fire exits or any emergency measures in place and forming baseless opinions about our administration.

To all those high end journalists and media persons, I only urge you to get your facts correct before you post such outrageous allegations against the entire university. Or in the least if you please, pay us a visit and proof check your misinformation.

The parents  of those two girls are shattered, their loss is immeasurable, their state immensely sensitive and anger very much understandable. It was a catastrophe even we cannot yet put behind us. It's unimaginable and unbelievable that such a thing has actually happened. 

I also request you to not make a sensational news for your own business, but take into consideration the honest emotions attached to this tragedy. We are just students and we have lost our own fellow students. Those parents have lost their daughters and all I've heard and read is about how bad the administration is, and how old the institution is, and how there were no measures in place. It is highly inappropriate of the Print and Television media to report false things, and take advantage of the situation. Because as far as I see, we've received no help from our own country. In the times of our need nobody came here to help us, when we needed warmth and food and a shelter  and our administration was trying their best to arrange everything with the help of the governor. We did not receive even a shred of empathy except those pointing fingers of accusations and misinterpreted information. 
Our university is 95years old, this year it'll be 96. It was founded in 1920, and only last year we received the honour of a university on completion of our 95years.  I've not written this in our defence, but only to say that these shouty journalists have no factual information and are misusing the situation to make a sensational story out of a highly sensitive and tragic issue. There are negatives and positives everywhere, but the only positive for which pupils come here is that medical degree which was unattainable in India. 
To all those shouting chaos, I only ask a simple question, “Why didn't anyone come here to help us in time of our need? And why on earth would we've had come this far to pursue our dreams if  our own country had given it to us in a reservation free and corruption free environment without much capital?”

(Facts:  The fire started in the room at 6.55am, the fire brigades arrived within 8minutes, dormitory was evacuated within 20minutes excluding the students stuck upstairs, who were later helped by the firemen.) 
Original cctv footage


  1. My sincere condolences to the parents of Karishma and Puhja.

    Sincerely grateful to the professors and teachers who came forward to help us in this trying time. And the Dean, Vice chancellor and Dr.Alok Aeron for their constant support.

  2. I was desperately hoping someone could tell me what happened in that day..after all it is the same hostel where I began my journey of being a doctor... I don't have too many words to express myself.. but I do hope you all find enough strength to deal with this ordeal & be "normal"... although I am not sure if that is ever possible.. Thank you.. for the truth... & sorry.....

  3. Sincerest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones.
    Ours was the first batch to live in that hostel starting Nov 2002 on the 5th and 6th floors. I precisely remember that there have been very clear fire exits and instructions including a few drills we participated in. The media adding inaccurate information is not surprising but unfortunate.
    I wish peace upon all the students and hope the life of normalcy returns at the university.

  4. Sincere condolences to the parents. Hope things go back to normal, atleast to some extent and something like this never happens again.

  5. Any Information , How fire started???

  6. Thank you for your explicitness in explaining the whole situation. You have given me lot of peace to my racing thoughts. The loss of both the girls is a irreparable as well as irreplaceable loss.deepest condolences to the families.god be with you all ...always

  7. My sincere condolences to the friends and family for their loss of the loved ones. Please know that all alumni of SSMU are with you as we all have lived in the same hostel and we know that fire in such a place can only be an unfortunate accident. I am thankful to the administration for everything they did to help students stranded in building as Wells as in the aftermath of the traumatic news.

  8. my sincere condolences to the girls.
    Appriiciation for immediate psychiatric conselling.
    dear Tanvi admiring your stability of mind that you clarify the situation

  9. First of all my deep condolences to the families who have lost their loved daughters !!! Its unimaginable how they can survive this grief. I was one of the student on SSMA from 2005-2011. I lived in this hostel for 02 years before moving to another hostel. It has clear emergency evacuation notice and doors with fire alarm system. so, nothing compromised with the safety measures. the media just wants to get publicity by showing this rumors. If they are so much cared then why they not go there ans ask the students directly ?? Its my humble request to all my fellow who are there for study to forget this incident ASAP and move forward. obviously its difficult to do it, as they have lost their colleagues. I wish peaceful life to all students of SSMA and to FMS studying in Russia.


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