Even as fire officials claimed that a short circuit in the AC duct of the first-floor of Vashi’s Wanton House hotel led to the massive fire yesterday morning, killing a 22-year-old and injuring 30 others, the survivors claimed that the negligence of the hotel owners made the situation worse.
Two Russians sustained severe spine and limb injuries after jumping from a height
The fire, which started around 4.30 am in the three-storey hotel in Sector 26, was brought under control only after more than four hours of firefighting. According to fire officials and survivors, the narrow structure of the building delayed the rescue operation and also made it difficult for people trapped inside to get out.
The fire, which started from the air-conditioning duct of the first floor, soon spread to all three floors of the building. Pics/Sameer Markande
The incident killed a 22-year-old employee of Axis Bank, identified as Salman Khan, who had come from Bhopal with his colleagues to attend a seminar in the city. The injured have been admitted to NMMC Hospital for treatment, and two Russian nationals, Renata Urakehen and Vehiamin Syehev, have been moved to Fortis Hospital, as they sustained severe spine and limb injuries after jumping from a height.
While the owners of the hotel refused to comment on the incident and did not reveal the extent of loss due to the fire, Chief Fire Officer Vijay Rane, said, “The fire started from the first floor of the building. Some fire equipment was missing at the hotel, however, we are currently investigating the case to pinpoint the exact reasons that led to the fire spreading.”
30-year-old Rajan Kumar Mishra from Hyderabad, who was staying at the hotel, said, “Had there been proper instructions provided about the fire exits in the hotel, the situation could have been avoided.
I was staying on the second floor and had to break the window of our room and jump on the shanties situated at the back of the hotel. I was able to save my life, but lost all my belongings, including my debit cards and important documents.”
According to Mishra, many people were unable to escape from the stairs as the fire engulfed all three floors and the smoke in the narrow corridors made getting out difficult.
Ram Lochan Sharma (38), an eyewitness, said, “I was sleeping when I heard a loud thud. I went outside my house and I saw several people from the hotel jump on roofs and platforms adjacent to the hotel’s boundary wall.
Some even jumped on the shanties, as they had no other way to escape. The fire had blocked all other ways of going out.”