Click Here to Subscribe For FREE SMS Alerts on Disaster Awareness

Refresher Training of CERT by FOCUS

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fire that raged through the wiring duct of a posh 14-storey tower

 is brought under control but completely destroys power and water lines, forcing residents to evacuate the building for an indefinite time


    In a city that is willing to pay a premium for vertiginous high-rises, this comes as a reality check. 
    Following a fire that shot through its wiring ducts, 84 families in an upscale 14-storey Wadala society have literally been left in the dark with electricity and water lines impaired for an indefinite time. While those in the lower floors have managed to make do with candles and flashlights, those on higher floors have no option but to pack their bags and look for an alternate accommodation till 
the supply lines to the tower is restored. 
    On Sunday morning, Carnation Building in Wadala's Dosti Acre saw a fire that broke out in the wiring duct at around 11 pm. It originated from the 3rd floor and went up to the 14th floor. Some of the residents tried dousing it but could not succeed beyond a point as all the wires had caught fire. The residents used their presence of mind and switched off power to the entire building and at the same time alerted all the occupants. Within minutes fire brigade arrived at the spot and controlled the fire. With all the 84 
flat owners informed that the power supply would be resumed in phases in the next two days, most chose to vacate. 
    While the fire broke out on the third floor, smoke emanating from it spread to higher floors. Newly nominated Member of Parliament and ex vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, Bhalchandra Mungekar's family who owns four flats on the 9th, 13th and 14th floor, had a harrowing experience. While Mungekar who stays on the 9th floor and his son's family, 
who stays on 14th floor managed to get out in time, his daughter staying on the 13th floor was trapped with her family comprising her husband, two kids and a maid. "They were stuck in the house for a while and started choking due to smoke. They were later rescued and rushed to Sion hospital," said Sushil, Mungekar's son. At the time of going to press, the family was out of danger. 
    By 1.30 pm the situation was brought under control and residents trekked back to the flats. However, in the evening a special meeting of the society was called and it was announced that power supply would not be resumed immediately. 
    "After consulting all the departments who checked our meters, we have reached the conclusion that elec
tric supply in common areas and some of the flats will be resumed today (Sunday); for the remaining flats, it will take another day. Lifts will be started in a couple of days as water has entered the ducts and repairs will be possible only after it dries up," said V N Deshmukh, retired IPS officer and chairman of the society. He added that efforts were on to resume water supply in the next few hours. A circular to this effect was issued to all the members. 
    After the circular was sent out, most families started packing their bags to leave. Take the case of the Bardia family that live on the 11th floor. After the fire broke out, Rajesh Bardia ran down with his family. On the way down he alerted quite a few residents. "We have decided to move to my company's guest house. Without electricity there's no point in staying here. Exams are 
round the corner and kids need to study," said Bardia. 
    Hundekaris, who stay on the eighth floor too decided to vacate and stay at their friend's empty house for a week. "Even if water supply is resumed it will be impossible to live without electricity. Moreover, with the lift not functional it would not be possible to carry on with life as usual. My mother-inlaw stays with me and it would be most difficult for her," said Vishpala Hundekari, who says she's lucky to find a friend's empty place to stay for the next one week. Over two dozen families moved out by late evening. 
    There were many who decided to stay put but were quick to move things from their freezers. "Now that we know that power supply will not be resumed for the next few days, I have decided to move all the things from our 
fridge. We will somehow manage with candles," said Vincent D'Silva, who stays on the 12th floor with his 80 year old mother. Most families rushed to neighbouring stores to buy torches and candles. "We have decided to stay back as finding another place to stay is not easy. We will somehow get through this phase as well," said Rosita Haribal, armed with a torch. 
Residents of Carnation building are all praise for Ryan Fernandes, a merchant navy officer who lives on the first floor, and Sana Ul Haq Siddiqui, the building's electrician. Quick thinking on the part of the duo curtailed the fire. "When I got to know about it, I immediately took charge of the situation. Everybody was in a state of panic, whereas I am trained to deal with 
such situations," said Ryan, who left behind his wife and two kids in the house to rescue many others. 
    He and Siddiqui ran down and got fire extinguishers from the ground floor. They could control the fire to some extent. "But since it was an electrical fire and plastic from the wires was burning really fast, we decided to call the fire department and we went to every house and asked people to evacuate. While I battled the blaze, I sent others to alert the residents," said Ryan. 
    Siddiqui on his part turned off the power to the building and lifts. "I knew that if the power is not turned off soon, someone will use the lift and die of suffocation. I kept running from ground floor to the third floor. When everybody was running down Ryan and I were running up to fight the fire," said a proud Siddiqui.

Carnation (above) in Dosti Acres, where a fire broke out on Sunday and (below) residents pack their bags and leave


Popular Posts

Slide Presentation


Enter a Youtube URL to download:

Powered by KeepHD.com
Custom Search

Daily Green News


blogger templates | Make Money Online