Soon I was at the place. Already a large crowd of people had gathered near a big building which was on fire. Flames were rising high. People were running about confused. The cries of children got mixed with the shrieks of women. It was really a heart-rending scene.
Soon the news spread. Some boy scouts arrived at the scene. They at once set to work. They brought pails of water from the tap nearby and threw it on the flames. Some of them brought bags of sand. I, too joined in the work.
Someone rang the fire brigade. Soon it came down the street, making a loud noise. The sound of its bell ringing late at night served as an alarm to the people of the locality. They all rushed to the place. Many came there to serve the terror stricken inmates of the house.
The brass-helmeted men of the fire brigade at once started their work. They took out their hose pipes and directed water towards the flames. It was after an. hour's hard labour that the fire began to die out: At last it was extinguished.
The building now presented a ghastly appearance. It was all charred and in ruins. The valuable furniture and costly items of the house lay scattered on the road. The scouts formed a cordon round the things and did not let anyone come near them.
The owner of the house was all but a ruined man. He looked very sad. His wife, an old lady, was weeping bitterly. The children, too, were terror stricken. They hardly knew what calamity had overtaken the family.
The fire brigade went back. The crowd also melted away. Soon the place was as deserted as before. No one knew the cause of the fire. It was rumoured that it was all the result of smoking. It was estimated that property worth one lakh had been destroyed in the fire. Luckily there was no loss of life.
I, too, went back home. It was past midnight. I was tired out but happy that I had been of some help.