MTNL building blaze: ‘We were in the middle of snack break when it all happened’

Mumbai: More than 84 people who were stranded on the terrace of the MTNL building in Bandra (W), where a fire broke out on Monday, were safely rescued by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB). 

No one was injured in the incident, except for a firefighter who had to be hospitalised for suffocation. He was taken to Bhabha Hospital. “He is stable.

He just has breathing problem,” said medical superintendent Dr Pradeep Jadhav.Rescued MTNL employees said, before the fire started, they smelt electrical burning but the source of the smell could not be ascertained.

“We had gone to the canteen, which is on fifth floor of the building. We ignored the burning smell, only to be horrified by the sight of huge flames on the third and fourth floor,” said a rescued employee.

Women who work on the second floor of the MTNL building had also gone to the canteen for snacks when someone from the building oposite shouted out a warning.

“We were in the middle of our snack break when suddenly a resident from the opposite building shouted, 'Fire'. We immediately headed for the staircase, but heavy smoke made it practically impossible to find.

So we went into the small room near the staircase and closed all doors and windows.

Then the fire brigade came and rescued us,” said Amruta Kaduske.  Another woman said they ran towards the terrace, as the fumes were suffocating.

“I used a wet cloth to cover my nose and mouth. We tried to run down but the floor was filled with thick smoke. I put a wet cloth on my face and we started to run towards the terrace, alerting others on upper floors. There were around 150 staffers with us,” said Elizabeth Gonsalves.

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