Mumbai, (The Hindu): Four people were killed and 23, including three firemen, suffered injuries in a blaze at Crystal Tower in Parel on Wednesday morning. Battling intense smoke, heat, and height, the fire brigade rescued 35 people with many of them being stranded on the top four floors of the 16-storey building.
Crystal Tower is located next to Hindmata flyover on Babasaheb Ambedkar Road. The building has shops on the ground floor, parking on the first three floors followed by three flats each on the upper floors. The fire broke out on the 12th floor at around 8.20 a.m., and spread to the floors above through the electric duct. It engulfed the lift lobby, common corridor, lift shaft, and all electric wiring installations. The electric wiring has been burnt from the 10th floor.
Eight fire engines were first sent to the spot as the blaze was initially categorised as level II. As its intensity grew, it was declared level IV (major) and 14 fire engines swung into action. The heat and smoke in the staircase made it challenging for the firemen to enter the building. They rescued some by giving them breathing apparatus and helping them go via the staircase. But many were stranded on 12th to 16th floors, and had to be rescued using a hydraulic platform.
Watchman Pramod Kumar, the first responder, said, “A resident told me there was a fire. I called as many tenants as I could on the intercom and asked them to take the stairs as I was going to cut the power supply. I don’t know how the fire started but the building is poorly constructed.”
Rajender Kapoor, a seventh floor resident, said he was home when neighbours came and said there was a fire. “I asked my son and wife to run down the stairs, while I stayed back to open the windows and turn off the cylinder, and then climbed down as well.”
“I was getting ready for office when I saw smoke. When I went to the balcony, I saw people shouting, and realised there was a fire. I ran towards the staircase but there was too much smoke. I knew if I stayed back, I would be stuck as the balcony has a grill. I then approached my neighbour’s balcony that does not have a grill, and we all stood there till we were rescued by the fire brigade using a ladder,” Rahul Dev, a tenant of the 14thfloor, said.
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