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Monday 30 March 2020

Mumbai MTNL building fire: 60 rescued, many still trapped

Most of those rescued were trapped on the terrace of the building. The fire brigade personnel entered the building with oxygen masks and searchlights to rescue people who may be trapped on some floors.

Editorials

In India

Mumbai: Fire brigade personnel deployed an aerial ladder to rescue 60 persons from a Mumbai building, where a fire broke out Monday afternoon, officials said. Efforts are on to rescue people who may still be trapped in the nine-floor telephone exchange building in western suburb Bandra, an official said.

Most of those rescued were trapped on the terrace of the building. The fire brigade personnel entered the building with oxygen masks and searchlights to rescue people who may be trapped on some floors, an official said. Two fire brigade personnel, who were exposed to the smoke billowing out of the building, were moved to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The fire was confined to the third and fourth floors, the official said. There is no clear picture yet about those on the third and fourth floors, he said. “We came down from the fifth floor via a lift. We saw fire brigade personnel bringing out some people from a smoke-filled floor,” a woman said.

Another woman who also managed to come out of the building, said, “When we came to know of the fire, we searched for the staircase, which had become partially invisible due to heavy smoke. We had closed the windows and doors of our office. Fire brigade people came and rescued us,” she said. There were still six to seven persons on the floor from where she was rescued, she added.

A woman who was rescued using the aerial ladder was seen shooting the scene around with her mobile phone even as she was being lowered to the ground.

The fire broke out at around 3 PM at the MTNL building, which incidentally is located near a fire brigade centre in suburban Bandra. As it is a working day, many persons, mostly MTNL employees, were present inside the building, the official said. Fourteen fire engines and other equipment, including a robot van and an ambulance, is engaged in fire fighting, he said.

Fire fighting and rescue operations are in progress and efforts to rescue people stranded on upper floors and terrace of the building are on, the official said. Visuals on TV showed smoke billowing from the building and people on the terrace trying to signal those below.

Fire-related accidents are commonplace in Mumbai. In June 2018, a fire had destroyed at least 10 warehouses, where tyres and rags were stored, in the Mumbra township. No casualty was reported in the mishap.

In December 2017, at least 14 people were killed and 19 injured after a major fire in a building in Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel of Mumbai.

A month before that, a fire had broken out in an empty monorail train early in Mumbai, leading to halting of the service, but there were no casualties.

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