Fire breaks out in 24-storey building in Mumbai, 11 suffer from suffocation

Fire breaks out in 24-storey building in Mumbai, 11 suffer from suffocation

Mumbai, Nov 23 (PTI) At least 11 people suffered from suffocation after a fire broke out at a 24-storey residential building in central Mumbai's Byculla area in the early hours of Thursday, officials said.

All of them were admitted to hospitals and their condition was stated to be stable.

The blaze started around 3.40 am on the third floor of the building located inside New Hind Mill Compound at MHADA Colony in Ghodapdeo area. The flats in the building -- 12 on each floor -- have been allotted to former textile mill workers under a government scheme.

Flames spread to the upper floors through electric wires passing through the ducts, leading to a 'horrible situation', one survivor said.

Five fire engines and three water tankers besides other fire brigade vehicles were sent to the spot and the fire was doused by 7.20 am, a fire brigade official said.

The cause of the fire is suspected to be a short-circuit, he added.

As many as 135 people were rescued by the fire brigade -- 25 were evacuated from the terrace, 30 from the refuge area on the 15th floor and 80 from the refuge area on the 22nd floor.

Eleven persons, including six senior citizens, suffered from suffocation due to smoke inhalation. Nine of them were admitted to the civic-run KEM Hospital and one each to civic-run Nair Hospital and the state-run J J Hospital, officials said.

Those who got suffocated were identified as Lakshmi Raut (70), Archana More (75), Parvatibai Tambole (85), Lata Tambole (67), Pranay Tambole (28), Archana Nilesh More, Mumtaz (60), Abhish (36), Vishal Vijay More (34), Razaq Khan (80) and Savita Karade (48).

Siddhesh Gawane, an engineer who lives with four other family members on the 11th floor, said his mother smelled smoke and woke up the others, but it was very difficult to find one's way out in the smoke-filled corridors. The fire spread to the upper floors through electric wires passing through the ducts, he told PTI.

“It was really a horrible situation, one that cannot be imagined. There was smoke everywhere...We were unable to breath properly and could barely see each other,' he said.

Sambhaji Bharade, a ninth floor resident, said all five members of his family were deep in sleep when their neighbours knocked hard on the door to wake them up.

“When we came out, the situation was chaotic. Black smoke had clogged the corridor,' he said, adding that fire brigade personnel rescued them through the staircase about one-and-half hours after the fire broke out.

The building has refuge areas on the eighth, 15th and 22nd floors, but the number of residents in the building is large and some people had kept household goods in the refuge area which hindered movement, said another resident.

The firefighting system installed in the building was not much helpful either, they said. PTI KK GK KRK

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