Monday, December 16, 2013

‘Instead of fighting blaze, workers should have called fire brigade’

Friday night’s fire in Mont Blanc, Kemps Corner, killed seven and injured nine

Linah Baliga TNN


    Ashort-circuit on the western side of a 12th floor flat caused the fire at Mont Blanc, Kemps Corner, on Friday night, the fire brigade has said. The blaze killed seven and injured nine.
 
    The flat, under renovation, was occupied by five labourers. When the fire started, at 7.30 pm, the labourers tried to douse it. But paint, thinner, polishing material and plywood, present in the flat, caught fire and spread it rapidly. “The situation worsened because of wind and inflammable materials,” said deputy chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. “Instead of trying to put out the fire, the labourers should have immediately called the fire brigade. The time delay cost us dearly.”
 
    Rahangdale said that by the time firefighters prepared the two hose lines and reached the staircase landing, two cylinders near the eastern ventilation shaft of the lobby exploded, sending a massive fireball in the 12th floor’s passage. “The firemen were injured in this. It was a setback. We had to overcome it and send another team of firemen.”
 
    Dinesh Gandhi, the resident of the neighbouring flat who perished in the fire, tried to escape, but could not get out because of rising heat and smoke. “When he went back, he left the door of his flat open, probably in panic. This was a mistake as the fireball entered his flat and claimed his life,” Rahangdale said.
 
    Gandhi’s wife, who took the lift to the 12th floor, probably to alert her husband, met her end when the door opened and the heat made it inoperable. Trapped, she died. “Had we not entered the flat (where the fire started) and contained the blaze, the upper floors of the building would have been gutted as the fire would have spread through the shafts,” Rahangdale said. The Malabar Hill police said the statements of 150 people, including the building’s residents and watchmen, fire brigade personnel and BMC officials, will be recorded.
Inputs by Mateen Hafeez 

 
The Times of India, December 16, 2013

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