Mumbai: Washing machine explodes at Bandra residence; family escapes miraculously

Updated: Jul 15, 2019, 07:41 IST | Faizan Khan |

Newly repaired washing machine explodes, causes a fire as a senior citizen and teen sleeping inside Bandra home have a miraculous escape

(left) Grandmum Kamal Sehgal; Karan, Neha and Shreya Chopra. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
(left) Grandmum Kamal Sehgal; Karan, Neha and Shreya Chopra. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

A washing machine serviced just 20 days ago, exploded inside a sixth floor flat at Linking Road, Bandra West, on July 12, even as a 74-year-old woman and her teenaged granddaughter slept unaware. What prevented it from ending in disaster was the presence of mind of neighbours who called the fire brigade, entered the house using a duplicate key, took the occupants to safety and helped douse the fire.

The washing machine was kept in the duct space behind the washroom and the door was locked from the inside. The family didn't hear the explosion or see smoke billowing out even after the power supply was disconnected.

The machine
The machine

Neha Chopra, who lives in the flat along with her 18-year-old daughter Shreya and 16-year-old son Karan, said, "Fifteen minutes before the incident, around 10.45 am, I left my residence for a yoga class. I didn't notice my phone vibrating but sometime later when I checked it, I saw 15 missed calls that had been made by my neighbours over the space of five minutes. I rushed home to find everyone downstairs, including my daughter and mother and was told that there had been a fire inside the house. When I went upstairs, the house was completely dark because of the smoke. The explosion was so massive that the entire washing machine has come apart and the switch board does not exist now."

Also Read: Mumbai: Minor fire in children's section of hospital in Parel doused

She added, "My 74-year-old mother, Kamal Sehgal, who had come to visit as it was Shreya's birthday on July 10, was sleeping in one bedroom and Shreya in the other. Her bedroom is connected to the duct where the washing machine was kept. My neighbour, Richa Bhavani, who has the keys to my flat, lives on the eighth floor and ran downstairs when she saw the smoke billowing out of our flat.

The receipt for the servicing done by the Samsung agent
The receipt for the servicing done by the Samsung agent

She opened the door and took my daughter and mother out. She and the other neighbours tried to douse the fire. I am thankful to them and to the fire brigade who reached within minutes after the call was made to them. The fire could have spread to the entire building. The building is on the main road and there are a lot of restaurants connected to it, the fire would have caused a lot of damage if things had got out of hand."

Alert neighbours came to rescue
Richa Bhavani said, "I called Neha several times, but there was no response, so I immediately rushed to her flat and opened the door with the duplicate keys. Shreya was sleeping in one bedroom and her mother in the other. I quickly took them out of the flat."

Servicing done just 20 days ago
"I had bought the washing machine seven years ago and last month had got it repaired after it started giving electric shocks when touched. The Samsung executive visited our house and within five minutes said everything was okay. He said the earthing wire had got disconnected from the machine and hence electricity was passing through it. I asked him if there was any major problem and that I could buy a new one if there was, but he said that's not required, everything is fine," Neha added.

Poor response from Samsung
"On July 12, after the incident, I called them telling them that there is an emergency and told them about the incident. Their response was very disappointing, Thirty hours after I made the emergency complaint, their executive visited my home again and took all the pictures and left. Such is the attitude of a company like Samsung who does not even care about somebody's life," Neha added. mid-day tried to reach out to Samsung for their response, but they remained unavailable for comment.

Fire brigade says
"Maintenance of all-electric appliances such as AC, refrigerator, washing machine, water purifiers, etc, needs to be done on time. In this case, we have found that maintenance had not been done properly, which is the main reason behind the fire. We reached the spot within minutes after the call was made to us and the fire was doused before it spread," said Prabhat Rangdale, chief fire officer.

Also Read: See Photos: Western Railways cleans up dirty Bandra station premises

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