Mulund resident Shenaz Sarvaiyya, who was attending to her mother-in-law Haloo Sarvaiyya (60), was one of the first persons to realise that something was amiss. Fortunately, the ward they were in was located at a safe distance from the spot in Gokul Hospital, Mulund, where a fire had erupted. Shenaz immediately woke up her mother-in-law and the other patients, who were all fast asleep, as it was around 3.30 am.
The elderly woman, who was in no position to walk, told MiD DAY, “I was not sure of how I would make it out of the institute, considering it was very difficult for me to move. But, thankfully, we were all evacuated without any injuries.” An on-duty doctor died, and medicines worth about Rs 15 lakh were destroyed in the blaze. Close to 50,000 litres of water was required to douse the flames, claimed fire officials. Dr Rahul Mukundrao Rudrawar (27), who was killed, was in the doctors’ restroom, which is located near the OPD. He was, reportedly, filling in for another doctor, who was on leave during Diwali.
Sources say the fire broke out at the front entry point of the institute, and spread inside within no time. Apparently, when Rudrawar opened the door and saw the flames, he locked himself in instead of rushing out. The fire eventually found its way into the room, and Dr Rudrawar too was killed. SB Karade, assistant divisional fire officer, was present at the spot yesterday morning, along with his personnel. “Six fire engines were immediately sent to the location, and by daybreak we had managed to extinguish the conflagration,” he said.
Police officials stated that the fire was likely caused by a short circuit, but an inquest was on. Speaking to MiD DAY, Dr Naresh Mehta, owner of the private hospital at Munshi Estate on MG Road, said, “There has been significant loss on account of the mishap, with medicines worth Rs 15 lakh getting damaged. Besides, a lot of original documents and patients’ medical histories have also been reduced to ashes. The short circuit seems to have occurred in the meter box outside, and affected the OPD and medical store.”
14 patients were receiving care in the institute at the time of the tragedy. They were all shifted to the adjacent Shraddha Hospital. “We have been operating in Mulund since 1998, and have four fire extinguishers for emergency situations,” added Dr Mehta. Dr Rudrawar, who’s from Beed, was initially taken to Mulund General Hospital, where he was declared dead. His body was then moved to Rajawadi Hospital for post-mortem.
Recounting the nightmare
Kalpana Tiwari, whose son Anil was receiving treatment at the hospital, said, “The doctor who lost his life, had come to see my son a few hours before the incident. He had declared my son fit, and was about to discharge him.” 48-year-old Moinuddin Khan, who was also admitted at the institute, said, “I had come from Vada for treatment. I had never imagined that a hospital building could be so badly charred in a fire.”
Rs 15 lakh
Cost of medicines damaged in the fire
Amount of water used to extinguish the flames