A massive fire broke out during a cultural event held as a part of the Make In India Week program on Sunday evening. Fire officials confirmed that a total of fourteen fire engines and ten tankers were deployed to the spot to control the blaze.
A number of VVIPS, which included Devendra Fadnavis, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and several Bollywood and TV celebrities, who were present at the venue at the time were all safely evacuated, fire officials said.
The fire apparently started during a Lavani program under the stage of Maharashtra Rajni Cultural event. Fire officials said that while the blaze appeared to engulf the area quickly, celebrities and VVIPs present at the spot, including Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his wife Amruta Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his wife Rashmi Thackeray, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Hema Malini, Katrina Kaif, Vivek Oberoi, Isha Koppikar and Shreyas Talpade, ministers, parliamentarians, legislators, and other prominent personalities were shifted to a safe location.
"It's a huge fire and we have sent 14 fire engines to the spot. No injuries have been reported as of now but we are investigating the cause," said a fire brigade official.
Officials confirmed that there was apparently a small explosion at the site as well, the cause of the same is yet to be ascertained.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said a comprehensive inquiry was ordered into the fire and other 'Make in India' events will not be affected. He further added that the venue was evacuated immediately and traffic management allowed early disbursal without any trouble.
"A fire safety audit was conducted prior to the programme and all SOPs were followed. Number of fire fighting equipment were kept stationed at venue. A comprehensive inquiry into the incidence of fire will be conducted to ascertain the reason," he said.
"I must compliment the authorities for quick action, they saved lives of many people," said Ashish Shelar, BJP leader.
"I was watching a dance performance when this happened, then suddenly the stage was engulfed by smoke. I was backstage when this happened. Authorities were quick to react and evacuated people from there," Bollywood actress Isha Koppikar said.
Lyricist Prasoon Joshi said he was there at the event because Amitabh Bachchan was reciting his poem. "As soon as the recital got over, I left the venue and another event started and suddenly the fire broke out."
Aamir Khan said, "It was a very bad fire and spread at an alarming speed due to wind. I am fortunate to be alright. Police and fire dept did a wonderful job in evacuating people. Thankfully, there were no injuries. Evacuation was smooth".
Event Manager Sabbas Joseph said, "Everyone is safe and fire is under control".
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray hailed the role of Mumbai police and Fire officials in putting out the flames swiftly. "Unfortunate fire at Make in India event at Chowpatty. As of now all safe, great efforts by @Mumbai Police and Fire dept. in evacuation," he tweeted.
NCP leader Sachin Ahir alleged that the "shoddy planning and organisation (of event) led to the tragedy".
"Action should be taken for those responsible for the fire," he said.
On the incident, actor Shreyas Talpade said, "I was going on stage after a dance performance and during that performance someone noticed a fire on the stage and informed the authorities. People who were performing on the stage could not see the blaze. But the authorities, including the disaster management team, acted immediately. If anyone had stayed on the stage even for a minute, it would have been disastrous," he told PTI.
Actor Vivek Oberoi said the incident occurred when a dance performance was underway. "After hosting the show, I went to change and my performance was lined up next. There was a dance performance going on and this unfortunate incident happened. It was due to wind that the blaze engulfed the stage. The organisers immediately switched off the music and started evacuating people including the VIPs and common people very systematically. I stayed back to help the police, Fire officials who handled this crisis very well. We should not think it (the mishap) as a dampener and should not dwell on it".
-With inputs from Agencies