22-year-old set to get married next month and colleague charred to death in major blaze at Kharghar car showroom. Both were sleeping inside; witnesses claim enough fire engines did not reach spot on time
Fire officers outside the Maruti Suzuki showroom in Kharghar on Sunday
Krishna Boatvar had been excitedly shopping and preparing for his wedding on May 10, but a sudden tragedy sent his dream up in flames. A major fire in a car showroom in Kharghar in the wee hours of Sunday burnt him and his colleague to death, besides destroying 14 vehicles.
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The Kharghar police are investigating; if the owner is found guilty of negligence, he will be booked accordingly, officers said.
The showroom, Excell Autovista, is located on the ground floor of Aditya Planet society on the Sion-Panvel highway.
Krishna Boatvar (in sunglasses)
Dead of the night tragedy
The deceased have been identified as Krishna Boatvar, the groom-to-be, and Jitendra Kumar, both 22 and in-charge of housekeeping at the showroom.
Watchman at the showroom Mansingh Pal (28) said it was first day at work when he had to deal with the crisis. "I was asleep when around 3 am I got woken up due to thick smoke. I woke up Khemraj Tiwari (42), the other watchman, and we both opened the shutter and then tried to open the glass door, but it wouldn't budge. So we broke it open and saw black smoke and a raging fire all over," said Pal, who alerted other residents in the building.
Tiwari, who too had joined six days ago, said they couldn't do much except just watch the fire get bigger with the smoke reaching the upper floors of the 12-storey building.
Another employee, Satish Nilewad, said, "Boatvar and Kumar had been working at the showroom for the last two years and were familiar to everyone in the locality."
He added that he himself had downed the shutter at night, with the two as usual sleeping inside. "We told the fire officers of the presence of two people inside, but they couldn't find them because of the flames and smoke. Later, a completely burnt Boatvar was found on the sofa. Kumar's body was found in the bathroom," said Nilewad, adding that delay in sufficient number of water tankers reaching the spot led to more damage.
"At first, only five tankers came to douse the blaze, which wasn't enough. It took another hour for six more to arrive, which led to the fire spreading."
A fire officer from the Kharghar unit said preliminary investigation suggested that a short circuit started the blaze. "Around 14 cars were destroyed in the fire along with the entire showroom. Four vehicles were inside and another 10 were outside. When we reached the spot, the area was full of the showroom's vehicles parked there.
There was no space for us, so it took time to go in," he added.
Senior inspector Dilip Kale said, "We have taken down primary information from the spot and registered an accidental death case for now. We are investigating, and if anyone is found guilty, we will register a case accordingly."