Two major fires broke out in the island city Thursday morning: one at Ambedkar Nagar slum near the World Trade Centre,Cuffe Parade,in which one person was killed and three injured,and the other at New Cuffe Parade in Wadala,at the construction site of leading realty company Lodha Group. There were no injuries in the fire at Wadala.
The fire at Ambedkar Nagar took place in the heart of a dense slum network at Backbay around 10.30 am following a cylinder blast. It spread to an area of about 60,000-70,000 sq ft. Ranjit Singh (22) succumbed to burn injuries. The three injured,however,did not suffer burns.
Roughly 800-1,000 shanties were gutted. It took us about four hours to douse the blaze. It was an uphill task as our engines and pipes could not navigate beyond a point that was half a km away from the blaze. We had to climb atop roofs to put out the fire. Search for other casualties is still on, deputy chief fire officer P S Rahangdale said.
Cooling operations are still on, said Sharad Barade,senior inspector,Cuffe Parade police station.
Electricity and gas lines were immediately shut down. Hospitals close to the area such as INS Ashwani,St George,GT,JJ and Nair were kept on standby. Twelve ambulances were rushed to the spot. A stream of people was seen carrying their cylinders away from the area.
Meanwhile,according to Rahangdale,the fire at the Wadala construction site took place around 10 am in a ground-plus-two floor L&T labour transit camp on a 23-acre plot. Eight fire engines and six water tankers were rushed to the spot. The fire,which spread to the second wing,was doused at 11.40 am.
The fire took place in a 60×70 ft area gutting most of the labour camp,except for the west portion. No one was injured, Rahangdale said.
The construction workers who had set out for work at 8.30 am escaped the fire. While the fire department has initiated investigation into the cause,workers said a short-circuit in the meter room was the reason.
The three floors measuring 30×80 ft each have about 16 rooms. A worker said,About 300 workers reside here. Had we been at the camp,the damage would have been more severe. Everything we left behind,including clothes and cash,was destroyed.