One person was killed and 25 others sustained minor injuries as a major fire gutted at least 80 hutments in Maharashtra Nagar area behind the mosque on SV road in Bandra (W) on Monday afternoon.
The only person who got killed was a 25-year-old man who risked his life to save others even before the fire brigade had arrived at the spot. It took 12 fire engines and seven water tankers nearly four hours to put out the fire.
The incident took place around 12.50 pm when a short circuit caused a fire in a snack shop. The fire spread in the densely populated area after four liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, kept in the shop for cooking purposes, exploded.
A huge number of residents, who had gathered in the locality, came to the rescue of those stuck in the houses, and also tried to douse the fire using buckets before the fire brigade reached the spot.
However, the over enthusiastic crowd proved to be an obstacle for fire brigade officials after youngsters snatched the water hoses of the fire brigade tankers and tried to douse the flames themselves.
“Of the 25 injured, only one sustained burn injuries,” said Chief Fire Officer Pratap Karguppikar. “Others got injured in the stampede, after people panicked and started running helter skelter.”
The person who died while trying to rescue others was identified as Syed Rehan. “Though Rehan did not sustain any burn injuries, he could have died of a cardiac arrest, after a cylinder exploded near him,” said Karguppikar.
“I saw Rehan run out to help in the rescue operation. That was the last time I saw him,” said Noor Mohammed, a relative of the deceased. “His sudden death has come as a shock to our entire family.”
“I have lost all my belongings in the fire. But I am thankful to god that nothing unfortunate happened to me and my family members,” said Mohammed Azad Khan, whose house was burnt in the fire.