Vijay Hake (23) was standing in the balcony of his building when he saw a massive fire breaking out of the meter-box of the next building. He shouted for help and alerted his neighbors.
“I went out running, called 12 to 13 friends and we went straight to the building and began ringing bells of each flat. Everybody started rushing out of the building and shouting for help. This alerted more people,” said Mane.
When they reached the fourth floor, the fire was assuming dangerous proportions. “The fire came gushing from the lift shaft. We did not lose hope. The doors of many of the flats were still closed and many of them were sleeping. Then the fire started leaping into the passage of the fifth floor,” said Mane.
The youngsters banged the doors of each room there. “The fire was all over the passage. Yet we were resolute that we will do it. Many of the doors were jammed. We banged the doors open and told everybody to rush downstairs,” said Chandranath Chanan (19).
After evacuating the fifth floor, the youngsters reached the sixth floor where the grip of fire was much more. “All we wanted was to rescue everyone. And we did that. The seventh floor was still locked when the fire had started engulfing the doors of the rooms. We broke open the doors before it was too late’. Thankfully no one was injured in the process and the residents were rescued,” said Debanshu Lokhande (20)
The youngsters however could not manage to reach up to the seventh floor. “By the time we had rescued people from the sixth floor, seventh floor was full of smoke and fire. It was impossible for us to get in and save people. We were called by our neighbors and we had to withdraw from going further,” said Praveen Patore (17).