Nearly 90 houses were burnt down after a massive fire broke out at the Lalmati slum near the Bandra West fire station on Tuesday. While two children and two women were rushed to Bhabha Hospital after they fainted due to shock and suffocation, no other injuries were reported in the fire that broke out after several LPG cylinders exploded.
The incident took place around 11.30 am at Lalmati slum, a pocket in the larger Nargis Dutt Nagar slum near Bandra Reclamation. The fire, which is suspected to have been caused by a short circuit, was doused by around 3.30 pm.
Officials from the disaster management cell of the BMC said 10 water tankers and 12 fire engines were sent to the spot. The fire brigade had declared it Level 4 (major) fire.
Dr Pradeep Jadhav, Medical Superintendent at Bhabha Hospital, said the four hospitalised are stable. The two children, siblings Saifuddin Salauddin (2) and Humera Salauddin (9), were in shock. “They are scared. We will discharge them tomorrow and keep them under observation,” a doctor said.
The women, Sana Khan (36) and Aasha Rajendra Gupta (42), suffered from giddiness. “They have not sustained burns,” Jadhav said.
Shweta Damle, a member of organisation Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, who was aiding residents of the Nargis Dutt slum, said: “Around 100 hutments must have been gutted. But several more structures have become vulnerable because they share common walls.”
She added that many children are in shock, but do not need hospitalisation. “We are trying to arrange for a counselling session for these children.
Habib Shaikh (33) lost his home in the fire but managed to rescue his wife and two children. “I was coming home from my shop when I heard a blast. The sound came from our area… I rushed and by the time I reached home, I had heard more than five or six blasts. I just grabbed my children and ran out with my wife Sonali Habib Shaikh.”
Shaikh had been living in the Lalmati Nagar slum for the last 12 years. His daughter Somaiya Shaikh (3) and son Abu Hamada Shaikh (5) escaped without injuries.
Faisal Khan (21), whose house was completely gutted, said: “I was sleeping when I heard our neighbours screaming. We ran out of the house with all the belongings we could manage to collect. At first, there were only two or three fire engines despite the fire station being a stone’s throw away.”
In 2017, a gas cylinder blast was reported at Garib Nagar, nearly 2 km from the slum gutted on Tuesday during a demolition drive carried out by the BMC.