Panic gripped the Wave Westend Mall in Gomti Nagar’s Vibhuti Khand on Sunday afternoon after a blaze in the Archies Gallery on the ground floor of the complex. Being a weekend, hundreds of visitors were present inside the mall at the time of incident. Several people, who were stuck in the smoke-clogged shop, broke one of the back doors of the mall to escape. The ongoing film shows of the multiplex were called off after the fire.
The mall staff initially tried to douse the flames with the safety fire equipment installed there, but this effort was reportedly not good enough. The situation was controlled only when three fire tenders reached the spot and brought the situation under control after two hours of fire-fighting.
The incident exposed the poor fire safety and prevention measures at the mall. Vibhuti Khand police station in-charge Anil Yadav said initial probe suggested that the fire broke out due to a short circuit around 1.15pm. He said though the blaze wasn’t that big, it was the smoke-clogging that caused panic. He said a stampede-like situation was caused initially when the gallery staff informed visitors about the fire.
Yadav said the fire fighters released the smoke by breaking the glasses and opening the windows of the outlet. He said the visitors blocked inside were evacuated through the alternative exit routes. The mall was made operational after four hours, he added.
Archies Gallery owner Rajesh Tiwari told media persons that property worth several lakh rupees was damaged in the incident. He said a huge stock was maintained in the gallery in view of the festive season. “The flames did not cause much damage. Most of the goods were destroyed during the rescue operation,” he added.