IN TWO separate incidents of mysterious fire in the city— within a span of nearly 12 hours on Tuesday— as many as 29 vehicles, mostly two-wheelers and cars, were gutted and two persons sustained minor injuries. The number of incidents in the last one week in which vehicles in parking lots have caught fire has gone up to five.
In the first incident, vehicles in the parking lot of Ganesh Park Society, near PMPML bus stand in Katraj, caught fire around 2.30 am. Residents of the society got up due to smoke entering the houses through windows. As the intensity of the smoke increased, the residents went to the terrace. Fire brigade teams from Katraj and Sinhagad Road Fire Stations rushed to the spot.
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The fire was brought under control within 10 minutes but by that time, two cars and 12 two-wheelers were already gutted. Fire brigade personnel said that two men, who are residents of the society, sustained minor injuries due to intense fumes. Three women, who were stuck in a flat were rescued by the fire brigade personnel.
In the second incident, a fire started in the parking lot on the premises of Sahakarnagar police chowky, around 11.30 am. Police said that the fire started in the area where old unclaimed vehicles were parked. By the time, the fire brigade personnel could douse the fire, 11 cars, two three-wheeler rickshaws and two two-wheelers were completely gutted.
Three similar incidents were reported in the city in last week. Five two-wheelers were gutted, while six others were damaged in an early morning blaze at Rajmayur Society’s parking lot in Erandwane, off Karve Road, March 25. The blaze also damaged a flat on the first floor. In a similar incident, three bikes in a residential society in Hadapsar were gutted on March 23. Four vehicles in the parking lot of a building in DSK Vishwa in Wadgaon Dhayari caught fire in the wee hours of March 22.
In all these cases, including those on Tuesday, local police say that primarily short circuit, fuel or fuel vapour catching fire could be the cause but also say that foul play cannot ruled out.
PMC’s Fire Brigade chief, Prashant Ranpise said, “We have found that very few of these societies had adequate fire fighting equipment. In most of these cases, vehicles were parked next to the electricity meter panels. In such cases, we cannot deny the possibility of leaked fuel and fuel vapours emanating from vehicles tank that could have led to the fire. It is important that all the power connections are free of open ends or old wires that may lead to short circuits.”