Locals worried that cylinders of liquid nitrogen stored in an ice cream shop would feed the flames; despite cops’ orders to stay away, a few youths went into the blazing building to bring out the cylinders, which were later declared completely harmless
Yesterday’s blaze at a Bandra mall turned up the heat between the police and locals, who insisted on rushing inside the burning building to recover two large metal cylinders they thought would feed the flames.
The locals were worried that these cylinders would explode and feed the flames, but the fire brigade later explained that liquid nitrogen is not flammable at all
As it turned out, however, the local youths had risked their lives for nothing, since the cylinders contained nothing but liquid nitrogen, which is not flammable at all. About half an hour after the fire broke out at Kenilworth Mall on Linking Road, two youths working at one of the shops there rushed to the spot.
Nitesh Kutiyan and Sandip Jadhav, both of whom work at an ice cream shop (-301 F!) at the mall, tried to assess the damage from outside, but all they could see were flames and smoke billowing out. Then they remembered that their store would freeze ice cream using liquid nitrogen that was still inside in two large metal cylinders.
Worried that the cylinders would explode and intensify the flames, the duo discussed the situation with other local residents and shopkeepers. Some suggested that the cylinders should be pulled out before further damage was done, but policemen present at the spot refused to let anyone enter the blazing building.
No fuel to the fire
Eventually, the local residents prevailed, and a few youths rushed into the mall to bring out the cylinders. However, their heroics were proved to be unnecessary once the fire officials arrive and explained that liquid nitrogen posed no threat in a fire at all.
“There was no necessity for the people to risk their lives. There could’ve been a major incident had the part of the building fallen down or they could’ve gotten hurt due to the fire or smoke. At no stage nitrogen is flammable,” said a senior fire official.