Barely three months after the fire in a 60-storey building, Avighna Park in Parel, another major fire in a 20-storey residential building in Tardeo has rattled the city, snuffing out six lives and injuring 23 others.
The fire erupted at 7.30am on the 19th floor of the Sachinam Heights building opposite Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo. Most of the residents were asleep when wafts of smoke roused them. Scared residents scurried towards the main door but halted in their tracks when they realised the entire floor was enveloped in smoke.
Some managed to run down the staircase, even as senior citizens and others locked the doors of their bedrooms and started screaming for help. Later, fire brigade personnel rescued them.
The smoke which can be seen in the video is terrifying.— SIDDHAARTH SHARMA (@advsiddharthss) January 22, 2022
What is more shocking is that nearby hospitals refused to admit injured, resulting into more deaths.
Heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
Prayers for speedy recovery of injured person.#MumbaiFire #tardeo pic.twitter.com/7JP8pkpscp
The fire brigade categorised it as a level-3 blaze and rushed 13 fire engines, 8 jumbo water tankers and 2 hydraulic platforms to the spot; they also had with them a turntable ladder and breathing apparatus. Five ambulances had already reached the mishap site.
Still, it took the fire brigade around five hours to douse the blaze. Fire officers and residents said that the firefighting system in the building was not in a working condition.
Most of the injured were rushed to Bhatia Hospital in the vicinity, while some others were ferried to Nair, Kasturba, and Masina.
Dr Satyadeo Malik, CEO, Bhatia Hospital, said: “Twenty patients from the building were brought in. The immediate and timely intervention from the RMOs helped save lives. Five of them were treated in casualty and allowed to go home. One was brought dead. Two patients with serious burn injuries were transferred to Kasturba and Masina.”
“Twelve patients were hospitalised and six of them are critical; they are under observation in the ICU. The other 6 patients admitted in the ward are stable. They are being treated for excess smoke inhalation and breathing difficulty. All the patients were immediately attended, and all required treatment was provided,” he said in a statement.
A local residents said that the fire had erupted inside the wire duct that runs from the ground to the top storey. Thankfully, the fire was confined to the 19th and 20th floors.
"My daughter stays on the 16th floor. There were 10 members in the house. In the morning, when we first detected the smoke, we ran outside. But we couldn't see anything, such was its density; so, we closed the door and went into the bedroom and locked ourselves. We shouted for help, but no one responded. After some time, the Fire Brigade personnel rescued us," said Shankar Vitthal Naik.
Though residents suspect a short circuit to be the cause of the fire, the Chief Fire Officer of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, Hemant Parab, said that they need at least four days to ascertain the cause. ''The fire occurred on the 19th floor and room no. 1904 is totally gutted," he revealed.
"If the fire occurred in the flat, then how can it travel to the electricity duct of the building; and, if the fire emanated in the duct, then how did it travel to the flat? This is what we are investigating, but it will take time" he said.
A resident, who did not want to be identified, said "Prima facie, it seems that the fire was due to short circuit. The building has a firefighting system, but we could not comprehend how to use it.”
Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray visited ground zero and announced a compensation of Rs five lakh to the families which have lost a member. “Electricity supply has been snapped but will be restored, once the fire audit is complete. The BMC will henceforth conduct fire drills," said Aaditya Thackeray.
Mayor Kishori Pednekar said, "The incident was unfortunate. Fire brigade officers and local Shiv Sena workers helped evacuate residents. The electricity grid of each high-rise needs to be checked every six months. People should be trained to handle fire fighting equipment installed in a building".
A resident, requesting anonymity, said that the building was built in 2013 and possession was given 2016 onwards, as in the intervening years, there was a court case. The building is a redevelopment project and the plot on which it was built used to be a slum area.