The operation: 170 firemen,150 navy officers and six hours

The control room received it at 12.10 am. They arrived at 12.30 and found the Sinduraksajak in flames

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | Published:August 15, 2013 3:28 am

More than 170 Mumbai fire brigade firemen and 150 naval officials fought the fires on submarines Sindhurakshak and Sindhuratna. The Mumbai Fire Brigade sent 16 fire engines and 10 water tankers,while the Navy deployed its two fire engines from midnight till 6.

The first to witness the fire and report it was,interestingly,its deputy chief fire officer P S Rahangdale himself. “Around 12 when I was returning home and walking down the road next to the Gateway of India,I suddenly heard a loud explosion and saw a large ball of fire in the sky over the Navy area. Before I could react,I heard another explosion. I immediately sent a serious SOS to the fire brigade control room,” he said.

The control room received it at 12.10 am. They arrived at 12.30 and found the Sinduraksajak in flames. Minutes later,the Sindhuratna too caught fire.

“Right from the start,we had enough fire engines dispatched,so there was no shortage of resources,” Rahangdale said.

Fire officials described the Sindhuraksha as similar to the belly of a blast furnace. “Parked on the jetty,partly in water and partly on ground,the Sindhurakshak was red in a blazing fire and smoke,” said an official. After three hours of operations,the Sindhurakshak began to go under.

“When the Sindhurakshak started sinking,the Navy’s deep sea divers took over the salvage operations. We managed to douse the fire by 5 am,” said Rahangdale.

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