Cutlery Market inferno: 17 fire engines fight for 45 hours to douse the fire

Mumbai: The massive fire that broke out in a ground plus three-storey commercial building in Masjid Bunder's congested Cutlery Market on Sunday evening took nearly 45 hours to douse off. Two firemen were reported suffocated and injured in the effort.

The Mumbai fire brigade personnel managed to put out the blaze completely at around 1:15 pm on Tuesday and cooling operation is underway, officials of BMC disaster management unit informed.

The fire erupted at 4.24 pm on Sunday on the first floor of Ismail building near Jumma Masjid in Masjid Bunder area. The fire was initially classified as 'level-3' (major) on Sunday, but later escalated to 'level-4' (massive) on Monday afternoon, the officials said.

Despite pressing 17 fire engines, 17 jumbo water tankers along with three turn-table ladders and an ambulance, the fire kept on spreading and went out of control.

"The fire soon engulfed the whole building as the site was not easily accessible to the firefighters, who had difficulties in navigating through the floors due to thick black smoke. As the building has godowns housing garments, cutlery and chemicals to polish the cutlery, thick smoke was emanating from it, making it difficult to put out the inferno. The firemen on Sunday night at around 11.30 managed to cover the fire from all sides, but the fire erupted again," a senior official from Mumbai Fire Brigade told the Free Press Journal.

"This is probably the first time after the 2012 blaze in the state secretariat that a fire fighting operation has gone on for so long in the metropolis," the official added.

According to locals, nearly 300 shops in and around Ismail Building have been gutted in the blaze, all the belongings and items in these shops are completely charred and destroyed.

During the operation, two firefighting personnel were rushed to JJ Hospital. One of them was identified as DD Patil (35), the station officer collapsed due to suffocation and Vijay Subhash Chavan (30), fireman suffered a hand injury and suffocation.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the fire brigade official said.

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Free Press Journal