Jyoti Verma, 58, of Delhi, Indian, was making breakfast at 6:30 a.m. recently when a neighbor alerted her to a fire in the building adjacent to her apartment. Looking out the window, she saw 10 people crying for help from a third story window as smoke billowed from the windows of the lower floors. Looking around her apartment, she quickly found a small bamboo ladder, and with the neighbor's help she propped up the ladder on the roof of her terrace so that it stretched to the factory window next door.


During the next half hour, 20 workers were able to crawl to safety on her ladder. Had it not been for Verma's ingenuity and her neighbor's help, the employees might not have been able to escape. "We cannot come up with words to thank them," said one 21-year-old worker. "For us, they were God."