Major fire at breaks out at Mumbai high-rise

Jun 22, 2014, 06:54 IST | Abhishek Dandekar and Kartikeya Jain

The fire broke out at 5 pm at Naman Midtown at Elphinstone that houses various corporate firms. The primary cause is suspected to be some welding work that was being carried out

A weekend saved many lives working at Naman Midtown at Elphinstone where a major fire broke out on Saturday and took almost an hour to get doused. The fire broke out around 5 pm at the commercial building that houses various corporate firms where more than 1,000 people work. Fortunately, only 100 people were present around the building when the incident took place on Saturday evening. Fire officials reached the spot by 5.15 pm.

Fire brigade officials suspect sparks from the welding machine touched a generator on the first floor leading to the blaze. PIC/ Satyajit Desai

The partly-under-construction structure has two buildings — a 15-storey and a 21-storey. Fire broke out on the first floor of the 15-storey building and then on the 13th floor of the 21-storey building. The primary cause of the blaze is suspected to be some welding work that was being carried out at Naman Midtown.

One of the fire officials on request of anonymity, said, “Welding work was underway on the first floor. But there was a generator underneath. Sparks from the welding machine touched the generator, which might have caused fire. We will send the building authorities a show-cause notice as the fire systems were non-functional.”

About eight fire engines, five water tankers, three ambulances and three large fire tenders (ladder vehicles) were in place to douse the fire and rescue stranded people. About 24 people were rescued in total — 17 from the staircase, five from the terrace and two from the top floor. The fire was doused after one hour while the cooling operations continued for three hours. There were no casualties reported. But some people who were trapped along with few firemen suffered from suffocation.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Shashikant Kale said, “We will conduct further investigation to ascertain the exact cause of the fire. Though it was a major fire, there were no casualties. The building was partly under construction and the other wing where the fire broke out was functional.”

Sonu Verma, a carpenter who was working on the 19th floor when the blaze broke out, said, “I was sleeping when the incident occurred. By the time I came to know about the fire it was too late for me to come down. So I went to the terrace and was then rescued by the fire officials.”

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