Residents of the Mumbai building where fire claimed six lives on Saturday said they heard a loud sound followed by black smoke, and recalled the frenzy of those living there to get out to safety.
“We heard a big noise and rushed outside. There was black smoke coming out of some floors above us. We immediately rushed downstairs and came into the open area,” a resident said.
At least six persons were killed and 23 others injured in a major fire that broke out on the 19th floor of Sachinam Heights, a residential building in Tardeo area of central Mumbai on Saturday morning.
A 50-year-old woman who lives on the fifth floor said, “I heard some noise like firecrackers and realised that something is wrong. As we were all scared, I fell down twice while helping my husband to climb down the staircase.” “I don’t recall how I reached the open area,” she said.
Residents of the Matrumandir building near Sachinam Heights attributed the blaze to an AC compressor explosion.
“We were on the terrace early in the morning when we heard a loud noise, which sounded like some kind of an explosion. We saw the fire and smoke coming out of a flat and immediately called the fire brigade,” a resident of Matrumandir told reporters.
“We then called other fellow residents of our society to make arrangements for rescued citizens of that building to rest in the open space area of our building,” he said.
A resident of Sachinanm Heights said he had returned from Kurla railway station just before the blaze.
“It was shortly after 7 am when the fire broke out. We were later told it was due to a short circuit. I had gone out to drop my mother at Kurla station. When I returned, I was in the room and heard a loud sound,” he said.
“Suddenly the lights went off. I saw smoke in gallery. There was a melee of residents trying to get out. Many were injured. Some sustained head injuries. The injured included many senior citizens,” he said.
A woman who lived on the 14th floor of the building said she came to know of the blaze after being woken up by a friend, following which they rushed outside.
Another woman living on the fourth floor said, “We came to know of the fire shortly after 7 am. When we came outside the building, there was a “fat-fat” sound outside a cabin (which presumably housed the AC compressor).
“There was smoke first and then there were flames,” she said. Asked how did she come out of the building, she said she used the stairs.
Many residents of the Sachinam building were shifted to the Matrumandir building, where they were given tea and snacks by people there.
The blaze erupted around 7 am in Sachinam Heights building located opposite Bhatia Hospital at Gowalia Tank, when many of its residents were still asleep, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said.
It took around six hours to extinguish the blaze, the official said.