Even as the residents of a building in Bhiwandi woke up to a blaze caused by a short circuit in a powerloom, all were rescued in the nick of time, courtesy of fire officials and Good Samaritans
Residents of Rahat Manzil in Bhiwandi woke up engulfed in fire and smoke yesterday morning. Around 200 residents of the building, who were stuck in the afire premises, made their way to the building terrace, where firemen and other locals safely rescued them. Around six people were reported injured in the incident, including two fire officials and a local, who helped in the rescue operation.
The fire started at around 6:30 am on the ground floor due to a short circuit. Around 7 am, water tankers and more than 10 fire engines with other private tankers from Thane, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar fire stations reached the spot for the rescue operation. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
The fire broke out at Rahat Manzil in Kasimpura Nagaon in Bhiwandi. “Rahat Manzil is a ground plus four-storey building, which houses a power loom on the ground floor, with its office on the first floor. The building has a total of 72 rooms, from which 63 on the second, third and fourth floors were occupied by around 185 residents.
Locals from the area also helped fire officials in the operation
“We suspect the fire occurred due to a short circuit and later, the huge quantity of clothes kept on the first floor caught fire, trapping the residents. Most of them were safely rescued from the building without any injuries,” said Vaishali Lambhate, Tehsildar, Bhiwandi.
The fire started at around 6:30 am on the ground floor due to a short circuit. Around 7 am, water tankers and more than 10 fire engines with other private tankers from Thane, Kalyan and Ulhasnagar fire stations reached the spot for the rescue operation. “Within half an hour, we rescued four people and later till 11 am, we rescued around 50 others, who were stuck on the terrace of the building. More than 100 people were saved from the terrace with the help of hydraulic staircase,” said Datta Salvi, Chief Fire Officer of the Bhiwandi fire station.
Salvi added, “The narrow lanes adjoining the building resulted in problems during the rescue operation. After the fire broke out, most of the residents who got to know about it earlier came out through the staircase, while others who were trapped in the smoke, went on the terrace for safety.” The rescue operation was completed by 11:30 am.
Fire officials Kantilal Gujar and Kamlakar Tanat are among the six people injured in the fire. They suffocated in the smoke resulting from the blaze. Shakila Khan, a resident fell unconscious because of the smoke. Locals Mohammed Yasin Qureshi, Afaq Ansari and Guddu, who were helping in the fire, were injured when the shutter they were standing on to throw the shutter key gave way. “All of them were shifted to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital for treatment and were later discharged,” said a fire official.
Sudhir Dabhade, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bhiwandi said, “It was a major fire. The locals supported the fire officials a lot in the rescue operation. Our policemen were controlling the mob. During the investigation, we found that the owner, builder Saeed Ansari, had made a power loom in the building. We suspect his negligence to be the cause and are further investigating the matter.” He added, “Also, he kept inflammable substance on the first floor of the building, which was dangerous and resulted in the huge fire. We will register a case against him accordingly.”
Israr Ansari (24), a resident said, “A lack of water crisis resulted in the fire rising again and again. The oil in clothes also added to the fire. The fire first was taken under control within an hour, but due to lack of water, it started again. We appeal to the authorities to accommodate the residents as early as possible.”
Those who survived the line of fire
Mother and son rescued after 2-hr wait
Sayed Hafizur Rehman (32) a businessman, resides on the second floor with his wife Mehzabin, daughter Sara, sister Naseem Bano and mother Sayed Saifoonisa (65). “On Tuesday morning I was relaxing after returning from my morning prayers. Suddenly, at around 7 am, people started shouting and when I opened the door, I saw smoke all around and people were screaming to move out. I first took my wife, daughter and sister out of the building. But, my mother has a problem in her leg and has been on bed-rest for the last two years. I was worried about her and made several efforts to pick her up and move her out. But the smoke was so much, that I couldn’t take the risk [of taking her out]. So, I locked the door and stayed inside till we were rescued,” said Rehman.
Rehman’s mother Saifoonisa said, “After my son rescued other family members. I was not able to walk and suggested him to leave the place. He is my only son and I didn’t want him to be killed or trapped in fire only because of me. But because of the love of my son and the grace of god, we are out without any injuries.
Towels to the rescue
Adnan Shaikh (21) and his brothers Ayaz (25) and Faiyaz (27) were the ones who started the rescue operation immediately after they got to know about the fire.
Adnan and Ayaz Shaikh
Residents of the second floor, they rescued their three kids by covering them in a towel. “We own three flats. A total of 8 people were rescued from the fire. There was a single exit in the building, which resulted in problem,” said Adnan.
25-year-old Shirin Ansari, who teaches at a Bhiwandi based college stays on the second floor of the building. “At around 7am, I along with my sister was getting ready to leave for work, while my sister Noorin Ansari woke up to study for her TYBsc exams. When we opened the door, we saw the smoke and people were screaming to get out. With the help of blankets, we rescued all kids and family members and got out safely.”
Shirin added that the residents who went on the terrace did not have the key of the terrace they then started looking for the key. Three people got injured, when they were trying to throw the key, because the shutter they were standing on gave way.
Noorin Ansari said she was tensed due to the fire, since she lost her hall ticket in the fire, “It was my last paper on Tuesday. The fire left me with nothing, as all my books and my hall ticket were kept at home. My parents spoke to the principal and I managed to write the paper. It will be a memorable day in my life, as while writing the paper, the only thing I remembered was the fire and nothing related to the paper. I hope I pass.”
Take action against the builder
Asrar Ansari, who resides in Pune received a call from his family members after he reached his flat in the building at 11am.
“We brought this place three years ago and the builder had told us that there will be no power loom on the ground floor, but there will be an office, which we did not object to. But the authorities should take action against him, since so many families are homeless [after the fire].”