In a Diwali tragedy, six firemen suffocated after successfully battling a fire in a multi-storied building in Thane early on Sunday, a senior officer said.
The victims suffocated due to toxic fumes which engulfed the lift of the 14-storey building in which they were coming down to ground level after successfully battling the blaze on the terrace, Thane Chief Fire Officer Vijay Vaidya said.
They got trapped in the lift and choked in the fumes accumulated there, Vaidya told IANS.
All those killed were from the Wagle Estate Fire Brigade and had answered an emergency call around 4.30 am. on the top floor of the 14-storied Punarvasu Building in the posh Tarangan Complex.
Vaidya said it was the second fire call from the same building in less than four hours as people were bursting Diwali crackers.
"The first call was just before midnight when a minor fire broke out in a flat on the top floor of the building. Our men extinguished it and had returned to the fire-station," he said.
Later, a fire broke out on the terrace of the building as people celebrated Diwali, he said.
The victims have been identified as JC Singh, Avdhut Thanekar, SR Jamadar, Kishore Patil, SKS Shinde and Kale, an official from the fire control said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan expressed shock at the tragedy and announced an ex-gratia patient of Rs 2 lakh (Rs 2, 00,000) to the families of each of the victim.
Besides, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) also announced a payment of Rs 5 lakh for the families of each of those killed, deputy resident district collector Amol Yadav said.
"Apart from the statutory norms, the TMC would be providing all other help to the unfortunate victims' families," Yadav told IANS.