Mumbai: Fire at Malabar highrise, 8 rescued

Mumbai: A major fire broke out in a residential building, Las Palma, on Little Gibs Road near Hanging Gardens at Malabar Hill on Wednesday evening. The fire was reported at 7.56 pm to the Mumbai fire brigade, which categorised it as a Level 3 (major) fire, and was doused in a couple of hours. While no casualties were reported, a fireman was rushed to Jaslok Hospital for treatment for suffocation from smoke during rescue operations.

The flames were largely confined to the fifth floor of the ground-plus-14 storey residential building, but had started spreading to the sixth and seventh floors, before it was brought under control. Nobody was stranded in the fire and eight residents – three male and five female – were safely evacuated.

Among these eight, two youths employed as domestic help in a flat on the seventh floor, Surendra Jadhav and Pintu Kumar, however, had a dramatic escape from the fire, as they climbed out of a window and descended to safety by sliding slowly down a pipe along the walls of the building.

“I along with with Pintu Kumar were working in flat number 73 on the seventh floor, when the owner of the flat complained about some foul smell. I closed the window to avoid the smell. Suddenly, I received a call from the intercom to vacate the flat as there was a fire in the building. Hearing this, everyone panicked. The married couple who we work for ran into a bedroom, while Pintu and I opened the door of the flat to escape,” said Jadhav.

“As soon as I opened the door, a wave of thick smoke and heat hit us. Nothing was visible. Somehow we reached the lift, which was burnt. We then came back in, climbed out the window and used a pipe to climb down,” Jadhav added.

A total of eight fire tenders, two quick attack response vehicles, seven jumbo tankers, a turntable ladder (TTL), an aerial ladder platform (ALP) and four ambulances were rushed to the spot. Fire brigade officers at the spot said the cause was yet to be ascertained as cooling operations were on.

“The building is located at a dead end, and narrow access was challenging for fire persons to deploy resources. Moreover, the building’s fire fighting system was not working and fire fighting jets were used. With great effort, our team rescued all the inmates safely without injuries,” said Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale.

BK Soman, a senior citizen resident of building, said he was rescued by fire fighters from the fifth floor by using an areial ladder platform.

Choreographer Shiamak Davar, who was at the spot said, “I came to know about the fire, and since my friends reside in the building, I came running. I am happy they were safely rescued.”

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