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Mantralaya fire anniversary: Elevator ride from hell for journalists

It was supposed to be a routine inspection tour of the renovation work, a year after the top four floors of the imposing Mantralaya building, the state secretariat here, were gutted in a major blaze. However, it turned out to be a scary experience for the nine journalists who took the newly installed elevator to the fifth floor to see the renovation work, after the lift got stuck between the ground floor and the first floor for over 10 minutes.

Mantralaya: A year after fire

"This looks like a trailer of things to come," one of them exclaimed, after mechanics had to prise open the lift doors, to the relief of the reporters stuck inside.

One journalist said that the old elevator did not feel so cramped, while another speculated about the possibility of severe turn of events, had there been a power failure midway.

Mantralaya being renovated
A year after top four floors of the imposing Mantralaya building housing the state secretariat in Mumbai were gutted in a major blaze, labourers are working double shifts to complete the renovation. Pic/BIPIN KOKATE

Later, officials present sought to brush aside the episode as a "minor" mechanical snag, but the experience was enough to unnerve some journalists.

"Imagine, this happening when the renovation is still on. What if another calamity were to befall and the new lifts stopped working at that time," a senior journalist said.

The scribes finally took the old lift till the third floor and then climbed the remaining two floors.

The fire on June 21, 2012 left five people dead, apart from causing extensive damage to the six-storey building.

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