Mumbai: A 22-year- old man died and six others, including two fire fighters, sustained injuries with breathing problems in the blaze that broke out in a ground + four-storey commercial building in Grant Road (East) on Sunday morning.
The incident took place in the building, Aditya Arcade, around 6am. The deceased has been identified as Uttam Meghwal, 22. His brother Bemaram said Meghwal came to the city 4-5 days ago from his village Borta in Rajasthan’s Jalore district, and was in search of a job. For the past few days, he had been visiting the godown to learn the nuances and get familiar with the work undergoing there before joining. The building houses various offices in the ground floor and godowns in the upper floors.
“Like every day, Uttam had come to the godown on Saturday night. Since he was sleepy, he laid down in a corner on the third floor. By the time, I finished my work, he was fast asleep. So, I didn’t disturb him and went to sleep on the terrace, along with other workers,” said Bemaram.
He said, he, along with other workers, was on the terrace. Suddenly, they heard a thud, after which they saw dark thick plumes of smoke and fire. They began to cry out for help. In no time, fire officials reached there and rescued 8-10 people from the terrace.
As soon as he was rescued by fire fighters, Bemaram informed them of his brother. The officers searched through the entire third floor, but failed to locate Meghwal.
“Despite repeatedly searching at the exact location from 8am, the fire fighters failed to spot Meghwal. Finally, around 11am they found him lying unconscious in stairs. He was rushed to the Nair hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival,” said Chetan Rathore, another godown owner in the same building.
The injured perons, included three workers -- Dilip Chaudhary (40), Bharat Chaudhary (23) and Ashok Chaudhary (23). They all developed breathing problems. The injured were taken to JJ Hospital from where they were discharged after the treatment, a few hours later.
Firemen Sudan Gore from the Memonwada fire station and Avinash Pardeshi from Byculla fire station also suffered from suffocation and dehydration, while Nandakumar Wayal from Byculla sustained cut marks on his left hand.
According to a fire official, they received a call around 6.06 am, and they rushed to the spot at 6.15 am. The fire was confined to ground and first floor of the ground plus five-storey building. 8-10 people were stranded in the building. The fire team rescued two persons from second floor, four persons from the terrace and three from the third floor.
It took them a couple of hours to bring the flames under control. Ten fire engines, four quick rescue vehicles, 10 jumbo water tankers, breathing apparatuses and 15 BMC water tankers were prsed into service douse the fire.
“The fire-fighting systems were not working. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Violations in the building will be looked into. The BMC is also being asked to check for the occupancy certificate (OC) of the building,” a Fire Department official said.