Residents claim that a labourer, in a drunken stupor, poured kerosene from a can mistaking it for water; a stove had exploded when a group of labourers were cooking dinner
The fire that broke out at Chira Bazaar on Thursday night, which left 12 people injured, resembles a plot from a cartoon film or a comic caper.
Soon after receiving a call, fire brigade officials reached the spot around 10.53 pm and brought the situation under control by 12.30 am. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Speaking to mid-day, eyewitnesses claimed the fire that started with a minor stove explosion could have been contained easily if not for the alleged stupidity of a drunken labourer.
The moment the drunkard poured kerosene on the exploded stove, the entire room went up in flames. While residents managed to nab one of four labourers, he managed to escape taking advantage of the situation that they got busy dousing the fire. Illustration/Uday Mohite
A few residents of the Meethawala Building (No 198) said the incident occurred around 10.15 pm when four labourers were cooking dinner. But as the stove exploded, all of them rushed to grab water. However, one of them, in an inebriated state, grabbed a can of kerosene and emptied it onto the exploded stove. This aided the fire and resulted in a short circuit followed by a cylinder explosion, thus turning a minor fire into a priority 2 call of fire brigade officials.
Swapnil Bhagat, a resident of the same colony, claimed that initially the fire looked as if it could have been put out easily. “I was inside the room when the stove exploded. And the moment the labourer poured kerosene on it, the entire room went up in flames. All four of them made a run for their lives. Though we managed to nab one of the labourers, he managed to escape into the crowd after the fire started spreading,” said Bhagat.
Other residents said the four labourers had been living on the ground floor for a while now. While none of them sustained any injuries, all four are absconding.
As the residents got busy dousing the fire, they had to step back and call the fire brigade following a short circuit and a cylinder explosion on the second floor of the four-storey building.
Fire brigade officials reached the spot at around 10.53 pm and brought the situation under control by 12.30 am. While no fatalities were reported, 12 people — including two firemen — sustained minor injuries in the mishap.
Fire brigade officials confirmed that the building, which has commercial and residential units, easily caught fire, as it was full of flammable material. “There was a lot of material stored on the terrace, such as household articles, furniture and doors made of wood, AC units and LPG cylinders, which aggravated the fire,” said a senior fire official.
Talking to mid-day, Senior Inspector Sharad Naik from L T Marg Police station said they are now awaiting a detailed report from the fire officials following which necessary action will be taken. “So far, we haven’t taken any action or filed a case against anyone. Appropriate action will be taken once we receive a detailed report from the fire officials in the coming days,” said Naik.