The fire is thought to have started from the ground-floor dispensary of Dr Keku Kavarana, who was rescued in an unconscious state. Pic/Bipin Kokate
When Constable Sushant Jadhav saw smoke rising from a Malabar Hill building, he didn't waste a second before alerting others to the crisis and running straight towards the fire to rescue those trapped inside. The heroic efforts of Jadhav and his seniors saved the lives of more than 20 residents, including an elderly couple Constable Jadhav was completing some routine work at Malabar Hill police station in the wee hours of the morning when he saw the smoke rising from the ground floor of Dilkhush apartment building across the road. Within seven minutes, they had rescued the first victim, an elderly woman.
"It was around 4.14 am. I was sure that the building had caught fire. I informed PSI Pradeep Deokar and API Suresh Chorat, and the three of us ran towards the fire. When we reached the building, we switched on the flashlight on our mobile phones and saw smoke filled in the lobby," recalled Jadhav.
Constable Sushant Jadhav
Couldn't see or breathe
They saved the residents from suffocation by telling them to run up to the terrace to avoid the smoke. "There were three floors, each with two flats. Some residents were crying out for help, we told them not to come down but to go to the terrace," said one officer.
API Chorat said, "Inside, the smoke was so thick, we were unable to see or breathe. I grabbed an iron chair and broke the windows to let the smoke out. We searched the hall with our phone flashlight, but didn't find anyone, so we came back out to catch our breath."
Other cops had already called the fire department for help, but the three bravehearts knew they had to go back into the flames and smoke when they learnt that two senior citizens were trapped inside. "A man came told us that his parents were trapped inside. We decided to go inside and attempt a rescue for the second time," added Chorat.
API Suresh Chorat
When the trio entered the family's apartment, PSI Devkar spotted a hand near the bedroom door and they spotted a woman lying on the floor. She was still conscious and they brought her outside, after which she was sent to Breach Candy Hospital. She was identified as Firoza Kavarana, a 68-year-old architect.
"But we knew that we still had to find her husband. We were preparing to go back in a third time when the fire brigade arrived," said Chorat.
PSI Pradeep Deokar rescued the first victims, an elderly woman, within seven minutes
Firemen found 76-year-old Dr Keku Kavarana unconscious in the kitchen and he was sent to Breach Candy as well. The fire is though to have started from the dispensary he was running in the apartment. "We are praying for the speedy recovery of the couple," said Constable Jadhav.
Senior Inspector Bhaskarrao Sawant said, "As soon as our men spotted the smoke, they went to help without even giving a second thought to their own lives. It all happened in 20 minutes. The couple has been admitted in the ICU of Breach Candy hospital. Although Dr Keku's condition is more serious, they are both stable."
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