Forgive the cliché, but it was another tiresome ‘’I told you so’ moment when Mumbai, which has seen several high-rise fire accidents due to improper fire safety measures and exigency guidelines saw a deadly repeat on Tuesday, 13th November.
Two people died and several suffered burn injuries in a fire that broke out at a house in the 21-storey building located in Kadam Nagar SRA chawl in Andheri West late Tuesday (13th November). The blaze broke out on the 10th and 11th floor of the 21-storey building on Veera Desai road.
A seven-year-old boy, who was visiting the city from Gujarat to celebrate Chhath Puja, succumbed to burns along with his uncle. Both were trapped inside the drawing room when the fire started.
Sagar Shailesh Sharma had arrived in Mumbai with his mother to celebrate Chhath puja in the one bedroom, hall kitchen flat of his paternal grandparents two days ago. On the fateful Tuesday night, the fire started when an already illuminated diya came in contact with the gas from the flat’s leaky LPG cylinder, which exploded. While Sagar and his uncle Vicky Sharma (22) died, his grandfather Lalkishore Sharma (50) sustained 30 per cent burns.
Santosh Jadhav, a family friend and a resident of the building, said: “Lalkishorji told me that the gas cylinder’s knob wasn’t closing. He tried to hold the knob with his hands but eventually left it. After some time, a diya, kept nearby, came in contact with the gas from the cylinder.”
Fire brigade officials said the fire started around 8.21 pm on the 10th floor of the building. Officials said it was declared to be a Level 2 (major) fire around 8.56 pm. The blaze could be brought under control only around 10.22 pm with the help of five fire engines and two high pressure lines.
The Sharmas reside in a 270 sq feet flat on the 10th floor. The fire engulfed their main door, blocking the exit to the building’s passage. While Sharma, his wife, and daughter managed to survive after fire brigade rescued them from the bedroom, Vicky and Sagar were trapped in the drawing room. Fire brigade officials said their charred bodies were found lying there. A medical officer in Dr RN Cooper Hospital said that both the bodies were charred beyond identification. Lalkishore, who is also undergoing treatment in the hospital, said the fire spread to the 11th floor within minutes. He said he tried to stop the fire when the cylinder exploded, but the mattresses caught fire in the drawing room and the fire spread to the bedroom. The wooden furniture, along with electrical fitting in the flat was gutted, along with some portion of another flat on the 11th floor.
Gangadhar Sharma, a resident on the 13th floor of the building, said: “There was a loud explosion and all residents rushed out.” The building is occupied by residents till the 15th floor. “One floor has seven flats,” he added.
Mohammed Akram, who lives in the opposite building Pramukh Heights, said diyas have been a common sight since Diwali. “I called the police control room when we saw the fire from our apartment. It took half an hour for fire brigade to reach and start operations.”