It was a little after sunset that I cycled home after playing basketball for an hour with my friends. To my utter astonishment, I saw a commotion of people standing outside our next door neighbours’ home. As I drew near, I saw that part of the house was engulfed in flames with ashen smoke forming huge clouds above. Jumping off my bicycle, I dashed into the crowd where I spotted my father and my elder brother, Faizan standing with our neighbour, Mr Ayaz Bashir.
Mr Ayaz Bashir looked as though he might collapse any moment. His wife who had been holding onto her adolescent daughter suddenly screamed. Standing on a small balcony outside his burning room was her 4-year-old son, Shehroz. He was crying hysterically, undoubtedly not hearing his mother’s consoling words that she was coming to get him. Mrs Bashir then rushed towards the flaming main door but had to be stopped by her husband. He knew that it would’ve been futile to let her go through the fire. She would never have made it across a room without being burnt alive.
Meanwhile, Faizan had found a wooden step ladder that was just tall enough to reach the balcony. With the help of my father who steadied the ladder, he slowly climbed up. When he reached the top of the ladder, Faizan helped Shehroz onto his back. People on the ground held their breaths while Faizan carefully descended with a petrified Shehroz clinging to him. A few moments later, both of them were safely on the ground. A cheer erupted which drew Mrs Bashir’s attention to her son who had just been saved from the fire in the nick of time. By that time the balcony had also been swallowed by the flames.
The air was soon punctured by the wailing siren of a fire engine and soon the hungry flames were doused by strong power hoses. However, there was no doubt that the day had been saved by my brother’s quick action even in the face of danger. Amid Mrs Bashir’s tearful gratitude and my father’s hearty pat on Faizan’s back, I looked on with pride at my brother, knowing that he had just saved a precious life.