About 15 employees of the TV9 Marathi channel working the night shift had a providential escape when a fire broke out shortly after midnight in a pub above their ground floor office. The midnight blaze started in the 1 Above pub on the terrace of the Trade House Building in the Kamala Mills compound, killing 14 people, including 11 women, officials said on Friday.
The fire, which also injured 21 people, soon spread to the Mojo pub on the third floor one level below. The roof collapsed and the entrance to the TV9 Marathi office was blocked, said Sanjay Jadhav, a programme producer with the news channel.
Recalling the horror, Jadhav said, “I was in the night shift. We heard people screaming at the cafe. We thought it’s due to the party which was on at the cafe and the music.” When he came out of the office, he saw that a fire had broken out at the roof-top cafe.
“The main entrance of our office was blocked due to the fire. I raised an alarm and about 10 to 12 people came out through the fire exit,” said Jadhav.
Jadhav said he and his colleagues saw the temporary roof made of bamboo burning and falling down to the ground floor. “Had we been late by five-10 minutes, we would have been trapped inside. It was a narrow escape for us,” Jadhav added.
A fire official said people rushed to the washroom of the restaurant to escape as they did not find any proper fire exit and were asphyxiated to death.