Residents of a 21-storey building located on the eastern side of Mumbai Central railway station had a close shave after a fire broke out inside the tower at 11.30 am.

A family, which managed to escape unhurt from the building, tries to come to terms with the tragedy. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
A family, which managed to escape unhurt from the building, tries to come to terms with the tragedy. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

A total of 14 people were injured in the mishap. While eight were rushed to Jagjivan Ram Railway Hospital, the remaining six were admitted to Nair Hospital. About 12 fire engines, and five water tankers, were pressed into action to control the fire and rescue more than 65 residents of the building, which houses railway employees.

The second floor shaft in the west wing of the building. where the fire started due to the alleged short circuit
The second floor shaft in the west wing of the building. where the fire started due to the alleged short circuit

Firefighters claimed that the fire started inside the west wing shaft of the building on the second floor after the dry garbage caught fire, and reached all the way up to the 15th floor. Those residing on the second floor claimed that the fire started following a short circuit, which set the garbage ablaze.

‘We reached ASAP’
Reacting to allegations that they took around 45 minutes to reach the spot, Deputy Chief Fire officer Prabhat Rahangdale claimed that firemen reached the building as soon as possible and brought the situation under control.

“We reached the spot immediately and initiated the rescue operation. Around eight people were bought down with the help of a hydraulic ladder, while the rest were rescued using the stairs. Since most of them had taken shelter on the higher floors, it took us a while to rescue them. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured,” said Rahangdale.

Initially, four fire engines were despatched to the spot after the fire officials thought that it was a Grade-1 fire. However, upon realising that it was Grade-2 fire, eight more engines were rushed along with five water tankers. The fire was doused by 2.30pm.

Docspeak
A doctor from Jagjivan Ram Railway Hospital confirmed that the injured admitted to the hospital had sustained Level 1 burn injuries. “While three patients were admitted to the medicine ward, the other five were moved to the surgical ward,” the doctor said.

Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean, Nair Hospital, said the injured admitted to the medical facility mainly complained of respiratory issues, “Exposure to the smoke has temporarily affected their respiratory system, so we have kept them under observation.

Three people who sustained minor burn injuries to their palms and arms were admitted to the surgical ward. All the patients are stable,” said Bharmal.

‘Ascertaining the cause’
Commenting on the issue, Central Railway CPRO Sharat Chandrayan said they were yet to find out the exact cause ofthe fire. “Our team, along with the firefighters, is still working to find out the real reason behind the fire.

What we can confirm for now is that it started on the second floor. We will conduct an inquiry into the matter and ensure that no such incident occurs in the future,” Chandrayan said.