Rahul Gore, a resident, says though the call was made at 2:49 am, the fire brigade arrived on the spot at 3:30 am
Showing his caller list and a video of the fire brigade arriving on the spot (with timings), Rahul Gore, a resident, said that though the call was made at 2:49 am, the fire brigade arrived on the spot at 3:30 am.
“The fire officials lost precious minutes from the word go. By the time they arrived, the fire had already destroyed a few rooms on the fifth and sixth floors and reached the seventh floor. Eventually, it killed four persons and injured eight others on the seventh floor. Had they arrived on time the lives of these people might have been saved,” said Gore.
The residents also said that even after the fire brigades arrived late on the spot, the fire-fighting operations were delayed in view of the area being a congested one.
“The fire brigades could not climb up near the building as the area is situated at a height. They tried for 10-15 minutes in vain to climb up, however, when they were unsuccessful they extended water pipes to the spot for dousing the fire. All this took too much time,” said Sheikh Muntazir Ali, another resident of the building.
However, the station fire officer of Vikhroli, Milind Dhonde, said that the fire brigade left at 2:56 am.
“If the fire brigade was late it must only be because the people might have called up late. Otherwise, we take care of such things,” he added.
He agreed that it took too much time for the fire brigade for climbing up the elevation. “It is true that the fire brigade could not climb up the elevation,” said Dhonde.
The residents were unhappy that the fire brigade teams are not prepared for dousing the fire in such congested areas. “We poor have nobody to look after. The builder should be questioned why did he make such a structure which was too congested for even the entry of a fire brigade. The officials were clueless on the spot for 10-15 minutes before finally thinking of extending the water pipelines to the buildings. Is this the way they manage disasters,” said Atul Dhamale, another resident.
Dhonde however said that it was because of people and loss of parking space that led to the delay in dousing the fire. “People were present all over. They were standing on the terraces of their buildings due to which it was very difficult for us to extend the water pipelines. Besides, the area had no parking space due to which we were unable to take the brigade near the site,” said Dhonde.