By executing the 14-hour-long rescue operation and entering the rubble left behind after the Somnath building collapsed on Monday at 2 pm, senior firemen Rajaram Kedari and Chandrakant Anandas saved 15 lives.
“We dug a hole into the slab and I entered the debris through it. I could hear screams and headed in their direction to start the operation. By using a hydraulic cutter, I cut the bars and beams and found three women in just an hour. They were buried under bricks and were covered in dust. My work was to pass people trapped under the debris to the entering hole,” Kedari said.
He worked under the debris for three gruelling hours. He said Monday’s incident was the biggest building collapse accident in the history of the city, because over 20 people were trapped under the debris.
Modern rescue equipments like hydraulic breaker, cutter, lifter, portable LED lights, and cameras, among others, played a crucial role in the operation.
“We have a cutter that can cut over 25 mm thick rod. Using the hydraulic lifter we can lift weight over 12 tonnes. It was used to lift heavy slabs,” said Anandas.
He was a part of the team involved in cutting and demolition work at the accident site. “Initially were recovered four dead bodies. It frightened us because several children, especially girls were still under the debris.
When slabs fall, they generally rest on the stronger part of the construction, which can be a wall or a pillar. We judged these places accurately and successfully saved the survivors. We are happy that we saved all the children,” Kedari said.