Assistant divisional officer SW Rane and station officer MN Desai, who died while valiantly battling the flames that engulfed Kalbadevi building Gokul Nivas on Saturday night, were given a guard of honour by grief-stricken colleagues on Sunday morning, as inconsolable family members looked on,at the Byculla headquarters.
Following the service, the bodies were taken to Chandanwadi crematorium at Marine lines around noon. The two officers, both in their 40s, were found dead under the debris of the building.
Many of Rane’s colleagues were seen wiping tears as relatives tried to console Rane’s wife Medha, who clung to Rane’s body, before the service. Many former fire officers also came to pay their respects.
With the fire claiming the lives of two senior officers and leaving two others seriously injured, the department’s morale is at an all-time low. “With the loss of senior officers, the department will need a major boost in the next few days,” said a senior officer.
Rane, who joined the fire brigade in 1993, is survived by wife Medha, an employee of Breach Candy hospital, and two children. Their son Raj is a student of engineering, while daughter Gouri is a final-year student of BHMS.
Desai is survived by wife Mansi, and two children. Their daughter Shivani is pursuing an MBBS degree while son Chinmayi is a Class 10 student. Mansi said, “I am concerned about my children and their future. How will I raise them alone?”
Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, additional municipal commissioner (city) Pallavi Darade, mayor Snehal Ambekar were also present.
Meanwhile, the BMC has announced it will provide quality medical treatment to the two injured fire officers and pay compensation within a week to the families of martyrs. Both families are entitled to compensation ranging from Rs10 lakh to Rs18 lakh.