Trapped residents of Rahat Manzil in Bhiwandi had to move to the terrace before firemen evacuated all of them safely
Mumbai : More than 250 residents of Rahat Manzil in Bhiwandi area had a close shave with death when their building caught fire and they were stuck on the terrace for more than three hours.
According to Ilkaq Ansari, who stays on the second floor of the building, someone banged on his door at around 7 am in the morning and he woke with a start.”On looking outside, I realized that there was a big fire and I rushed out of the house and started banging on all the doors and warned people to run out,” he said. The youth said that he was among the first to know about the fire and he himself managed to shift about five families to safety.
But after a while the fire started spreading really fast and the rest of the residents who were still inside the building had no choice but to run up to the terrace, Ansari said. The youth said that though they had immediately called the fire brigade, they still took some time to come to the spot and this made it difficult to control the fire. Though no one was injured in the incident, he himself suffered a minor fracture on his ankle when he was helping people to get down from the building.
Another resident, Atik Ansari, said that it was surprising to them that the fire brigade tenders that came from Bhiwandi did not even have ladders that could bring down the trapped victims. “This is a five-storey building and we found it surprising that the ladders could only reach till the second floor,” he said. There are now buildings that are seven storeys and more and it is high time that the Bhiwandi Fire Brigade got its fire tenders that can reach to the top floor, he said.
Recalling the moments of horror, Asad Ansari, who was trapped on the terrace for more than three hours, said that when they had no way of running out of the building, many of them ran to the terrace.”There were about 250 of us who were standing on the terrace and praying to God to help us in our difficult moment,” he said. It was only when the fire brigade tenders came from Mumbai with their huge ladders that the trapped residents could be brought down to safety. “The firemen used the crane to reach the terrace and brought down the residents in small groups,” he recalled. They first brought down the women, children and senior citizens and then the men who were trapped in that situation.
Residents said that there is a power loom at the ground floor and a go down on the first floor and the remaining three floors are residential places.”There are about 63 houses in the building and people have been staying here since the last few years,” he said. The fire resulted in the power supply to the building being switched off and it will be at least another couple of days before it gets restored and their lives come back to normal.
Aklak said that his sister had been studying for her college exams the whole of last night and had just gone to sleep when the fire broke out.”She is totally upset that she has to stay at someone else’s house for a few days since this going to affect her studies,” he said.
When asked about the incident, a fire brigade officer said that they arrived at the scene as quickly as possible and did their best to put out the fire and rescue the people.”But we are facing a water shortage situation and this did hamper our fire fighting work,” he said.