One killed,11 injured in Tardeo building blaze

One person was killed and 11 injured in a fire in south Mumbai’s Tardeo area on Thursday morning.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: March 16, 2012 3:50 am

One person was killed and 11 injured in a fire in south Mumbai’s Tardeo area on Thursday morning. The fire broke out in a ground-plus-three floor residential structure around 8 am and triggered a series of cylinder blasts in the building.

The incident happened in Ganpat Vita Sadan building on Ratan Tata Road in Tardeo. While 65-year-old Arvind Govind Phansekar died in the incident,11 were rushed to Nair Hospital. Over 150 residents were evacuated from the building,which houses about 32 families and three small offices. Residents attributed the fire to a short circuit in the main switchboard on the ground floor of the building. The fire spread to the upper floors through the wooden staircase. A part of the building also collapsed following the fire and blasts. However,fire officials are yet to establish the cause of the fire.

“The fire spread from the ground floor quickly because of the wooden structures in the building. The residents of the second and third floors found it difficult to come down as the wooden staircase had caught fire. We had to rescue them with the help of ladders,” said chief fire officer H N Muzawar. Fire officials said about 15 people were rescued from the building.

Some residents,meanwhile, had to jump off the building. A resident on the third floor,S Shekhar said,“The fire brigade was finding it difficult to reach the corners of the building and people were stuck on the second and third floors. I managed to jump out; I even saw a 60-year-old woman jumping with the help of a tarpaulin. The fire brigade was late by half-an-hour,so we had no choice but to jump.”

Another eyewitness,Akshay Gupta said,“The fire was blazing,followed by at least three cylinder blasts and people were jumping from the building. One woman threw her eight-month-old baby from her house but could not jump off herself. She was later rescued by the fire brigade.”

More than 10 fire engines and four water tankers were rushed to the spot. Adjacent buildings were also evacuated as a precautionary measure. Municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar said,“This incident was an accident. The families were supposed to move out of the bulding,which is set for redevelopment,but they had been waiting for the children’s examinations to be over.”

Residents are a worried lot as they have been given transit accomodation in Dharavi while their places of work and schools of the children are in and around Tardeo and Mumbai Central. Devajikalabhai Vinjuda,60,said,“We were denied alternative arrangement in a nearby MHADA transit camp despite our repeated requests. The children’s exams are on and it will be convenient for them if they live nearby.”

“It’s her exam tomorrow and she doesn’t even have books to study,” he said,looking for his granddaughter’s books and bag which were burnt in the fire.

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