Major fire at 26-storey building in Mumbai, six killed

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 14 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A major fire broke out on the 12th floor of Mont Blanc building at Kemps Corner on Friday evening, killing six persons. Some residents of the 26-storey tower and six firemen were injured in the blaze. With a cylinder explosion in the building compounding the problem, the fire was finally doused after a four-hour battle.

"We have confirmed six deaths. The building had all fire safety mechanisms in place which greatly helped in restricting the blaze from escalating to upper floors," PS Rahangdale, deputy chief fire officer, said. "There is a possibility of the toll rising. The bodies were found on the 26th, 16th and 12th floors, including lift, lobby and staircase. The deceased include women," Rahangdale added . The fire started around 7pm in the highrise which houses several CEOs of companies and businessmen. Residents said the fire brigade took almost an hour to arrive.

We were out for an evening walk when I first noticed flames raging on the 12th floor," said resident Jaywanti Shah. "We were in the garden at that time. The fire started in flat No. 1201, which was under renovation . There were some carpenters and labourers in the flat who were rescued. They were working on some furniture in the flat and there was a lot of wood lying around ," she said.

Shah said winds soon fanned the fire to flat No. 1202, owned by Bollywood producer and diamond merchant Dinesh Gandhi .
"Gandhi was downstairs when he saw the fire spreading to his flat and rushed upstairs . We hope he, his wife and their domestic help moved to safety," she said. The elevators were switched off after a while. "Firefighters took the staircase to the 12th floor. But there was a cylinder blast and six of them were injured . They were first taken to Breach Candy Hospital and later shifted to the National Burns Centre at Airoli," said regional additional commissioner Krishna Prakash.

Rahangdale said the cause of the fire was not known . More than 35 residents were rescued with hydraulic and turntable ladders being used in the operation . "The cooling operation will take 2 to 3 hours. The entire building was evacuated as it is uninhabitable due to the smoke. Wind velocity and a cylinder blast compounded the situation ." Fourteen fire tenders , eight water tankers and 10 appliances were roped in . Anil Jaisingh , 37, resident of a neighbouring building , was also injured as he tried to rescue people from the 12th floor after the cylinder blast. He was rushed to Breach Candy Hospital. The blast delayed the process of putting out the flames. Sunil Talreja, an 11th floor resident of Mont Blanc , said, "A short circuit may have caused the fire. The cylinder blast which occurred 45 minutes later, fanned it further. I saw smoke emanating from the window above my house. We got out immediately."

Many residents managed to move to higher floors and kept in touch with their friends outside on phone . Atul Zaveri, a resident of the adjacent Grande Paradi, said, "I saw some people step out onto the parapet of the 11th floor. The fire then spread in their direction . We couldn't see what happened thereafter."

"Firemen rescued people from the 15th floor. Those on the 11th and 13th floors were trapped in their flats. There was a lot of smoke in these flats but we have learned that the occupants are safe," said Prakash. Many residents , who were trapped inside their homes on other floors, used flashlights to send SOS messages to those downstairs .

Kamal Khanna, a seventh floor resident of Mont Blanc , said, "My driver saw flames raging on the 12th floor. He alerted us on the phone."

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