Oops! Fire brigade arrives to douse blaze, without enough fuel or water

Updated: Dec 22, 2016, 08:39 IST | Gaurav Sarkar |

Mumbai's fire brigade was caught with its pants down on Tuesday night when it arrived in Byculla to douse a fire. Residents allege the fire personnel were not fully prepared to tackle the blaze

Water being sourced from the underground tank of a building in the localityWater being sourced from the underground tank of a building in the locality

The fire brigade was caught with its pants down last night when it arrived in Byculla to douse a fire. Residents alleged that fire personnel were not prepared to tackle the blaze that broke out in Sankli Street of Madanpura around 10.30 pm. It took them four-and-a-half hours to douse the flames.

Only two of the 14 engines and 10 water tankers deployed to the area could fit in the narrow lane at a time. These ran out of water soon, and water had to be drawn from the 1 lakh litre-capacity underground tank of a nearby building. The machinery used to control water pressure in hoses was not refuelled; around 8 litres of fuel had to be siphoned off from bikes in the neighbourhood. A fireman was injured when the tip of a hose hit him in the face.


Fire personnel douse the fire that broke out in Sankli Street of Madanpura, Byculla, last night. Pics/Sameer Markande

'Were doing timepass'
“The fire broke out in a workshop above Bawarchi Caterers around 10.30 pm,” recalled Rizwan Sheikh (24), who lives adjacent to Bawarchi with his sister and two nephews. “As soon I raised an alarm, neighbours helped and started evacuating houses.”

Fahim Nair (31), a resident and member of the Nagpada police station mohalla committee, said, “We (locals) started removing all cylinders from the spot when the fire broke out, and managed to remove around 12. But of the ones that were left behind, two cylinders caught fire and exploded.”

Mohammad Hussain Ansari (65), chairman of Baugh-e-Rabbani Society whose water the fire engines used, alleged that the fire personnel were “simply doing timepass.”

Control room alerted
Asked why fuel and water had to be sourced from residents, a fire official at the spot said, “I called the fire control station three times and requested them to bring fuel. But no help arrived.”

P Rahangdale, chief fire officer, was not available for comment despite repeated attempts. The fire was doused around 3 am. By this time, residents opened a community hall to offer refuge to those affected. Many said a short in the circuit of the shop caused the fire. There were no casualties.

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