13 hours later, another fire averted in Chira Bazaar!
After the Meethawala Building fire, residents of another building in the vicinity sniffed out a gas leak and warded off a tragedy by breaking into a house
While Chira Bazaar was still recovering from the trauma of the fire that broke out 13 hours ago, panic struck the area again! Residents of Hariniwas Society, which is metres away from the Meethawala Building that had caught fire on late Thursday night, averted a fire after noticing a strong-smell of cooking gas in their building yesterday.
Nirmala Potadia and a (below) fire official checking her apartment. Pics/Bipin Kokate
The smell originated from a locked apartment of 70-year-old Nirmala Potadia, a shopkeeper, whose cooking gas tube had been chewed by rats and was leaking while she was at her shop right opposite the building. Residents then averted a major tragedy by breaking into her flat and switching off the supply.
The fire officials, who came to the spot after a while, took the faulty tube in their custody and requested the residents to keep their rooms ventilated.
The incident took place at around 11.30am when Potadia, who stays on the building’s first floor, left the house after boiling water. She said she had left an hour after switching off the gas and didn’t smell anything. “My regulator is also broken and I had complained about the old tube to the gas agency. They had tried to fit a new one but it couldn’t fit the knob and they again connected the old one promising to return with a replacement,” said Potadia.
A while after she went to her shop, the neighbours noticed the smell coming from her house. “Firstly, she said she could only help once her son comes back home. Later, she started searching for the house keys in a big bunch of keys saying that it has the cupboard’s key too so she can’t give it. We started panicking,” said a resident of the building.
The neighbors then broke in to the apartment and ventilated the house. Also, youngsters went all over the building asking people to evacuate. They then cut off the electricity supply, secured the cylinder and informed fire officials.
Pandurang Sakpal, a Shiv Sena politician and a resident of the same building, said the residents took all the measures to ensure that the situation remains under control. “They all acted like professional rescuers and managed to avert a major tragedy. They did a commendable job. Fire officials too reached the spot after some time but the situation was under control well before that,” said Sakpal.
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