MTNL building blaze: Smell of burning wires alerted staff

Pankaj Meshram: We were in the middle of work and suddenly smelt something burning. We realised it was the smell of burning wire. Suddenly, we saw smoke coming from the floor below. We informed other colleagues and took the staircase to exit the building.

But when we saw the thick smoke and decided to proceed to the terrace of the building, instead. From there, one of us informed the fire brigade of our location. As the fire brigade is located in the lane next to ours, they arrived in time.

Initially, they found it difficult to rescue us, as they had ladders which only reached up to the eighth floor. They asked us if we could come down one floor below. But we refused. However, after a while, they brought taller ladders with a cage that could cary three people at a time and eventually, saved us all.

Survivor Ramakant Yadav

On seeing the thick black smoke, I was in a state of shock. A thousand thoughts ran wildly through my mind at once. My colleagues, however, shook me into reality and asked me to get on the terrace immediately, before the fire brigade arrived.

We were on the terrace from 3-5pm. Around 4pm, many of us began losing hope because it was taking a while. I called home and spoke to my wife and son. I informed them, it was possible this could be be our last conversation.

My call was a shock to them as they had no clue about this fire until then. They broke down on hearing my words. Thanks to our brave firemen, we were rescued safely. By god's grace we are alive. And I am happy to go back home to my family now.

Survivor Sumeri Balekuril

I was working at the time. I heard people screaming 'Aag, aag, bhago'. I came out and saw people running helter-skelter to escape. We all were clueless.

None of us had any idea where the fire had erupted, all we could see was thick, black smoke. Like everyone else, I too began running here and there, until we finally decided to go to the terrace.

We were there for two hours. Finally, when we heard the fire brigade sirens, we hoped and prayed for the best. The firefighters used ladders and cages brought us down.

Many of us were afraid as on one side, we were surrounded by fire and on the other, firemen were asking us to step on the ladders and into cages which were so far above the ground.

Looking down, I thought, I was either going to die in a fire or by falling from a height. Then I told myself, if I wanted to stay alive, I would have to take a risk. I trusted the firemen and they brought us down safely,

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