“We heard a blast and soon the room filled up with flames and smoke,” cried Javeria Bibi, one of the students at the hostel.
As many as 32 students were injured, including six critically, when a fire erupted in a dorm room of the Government Girls Post Graduate College No 2 Abbottabad on Tuesday evening.
Javeria, told the media on Wednesday that her roommate, fourth year student Rehana, was ironing clothes on the ground floor of the two-storey building at around 7pm in the evening when a short circuit caused sparks to fly, starting a fire in the room.
The flames quickly engulfed the room before spreading to two adjoining rooms.
Nighat Bibi, a third year student at the hostel, recounted that soon after the fire broke out, the power to the building failed, plunging them into darkness.
As the heat of the fire spread, smoke and screams of girls filled the air. Panic gripped the nearly 200 students in the dormitory.
Many tried to rush out of the building causing a mini-stampede.
Nighat said that they had to grope their way around in the dark while trying to find the exit. “Girls walked into each other and collided against the walls while they desperately tried to find the exit,” she added.
But not everyone made it out safely, some were injured while trying to escape the fire while others trapped in the burning building, fainted after inhaling too much smoke.
College sources said that as many as 30 students had fainted or suffered minor injuries in their attempts to escape. Rescue 1122 sources, however, said they had shifted 32 students to the Ayub Teaching Hospital for treatment.
Sources at the ATH, however, said only 17 girls were brought to the hospital including Rehana Bibi, Javeria Bibi, Munaza Mustafa, Aisha, Maria Bibi, Nighat Bibi, Iqra, Amina Bibi, Ammara Bibi, Sara Gul, Sania Riaz, Laraib Shah, Irum Bibi, Aisha Munsif, Humaira, Sadaf and Javeria Shah.