At first I ignored the alarm. It sounded like a fire alarm, such as the ones we used at the fire drill in our building. I had taken part in so many fire drills that when the real thing happened I mistook it for a drill in the hospital where my Dad was a patient. Then I saw the matron running in excitedly shouting “Fire”. The look on her face said it all.

Being fairly well built myself, without second thoughts, I just reached down and lifted my Dad who was asleep in bed and started walking towards the exit. By now the doctors and nurses were running here and there shouting orders. I saw some patients gallantly helping others and taking them to the exits. We started to file out. We were on the first floor and the fire seemed to have started on the second floor, we had to hurry. I held my father close to me. He was awake and realizing what had happened he smiled at me weakly. I returned the smile reassuringly.

As we reached the exit I heard the welcome sound of the Fire Brigade sirens. Soon a burly fireman walked in, and with crisp instructions had all of us moving as one body down the stairs. Once down, I saw my mother crying and pushing the police away in her efforts to enter the hospital. I called out to her and the moment she saw me. The sorrow that creased her lovely face turned to that of sheer joy.

An attendant of an ambulance standing close by, motioned to me and I helped my father on to a stretcher and into the ambulance. He was going to be taken to another hospital. My mum was a bundle of nerves as she realized that she had been on the brink of widowhood and back. When the ambulance moved off, she just leaned against me and sobbed and sobbed. I held her tightly to me and consoled her as best as I could. We then hired a taxi and followed the ambulance.