When the fire gutted four floors of Mantralaya last week, its fire officer Sanjaya Danapurkar was away in his hometown for his father’s funeral. Now back in Mumbai, Danapurkar has told the government that there was a delay in reporting the incident to the fire brigade because employees in room number 411 on the fourth floor realised the seriousness of the blaze very late. Danapurkar made this assertion on the basis of an investigation he conducted after returning to the city.
In its June 22 edition, HT had reported that there was a delay in initiating fire-fighting operations, thereby contradicting the state government’s claim that the fire broke out at 2.40pm.
A senior official from the public works department (PWD), who is in the know of the fire officer’s report, told HT that that much time was lost because of inaction by the people concerned.
“The fire officer has reported that the fire started much before 2.30pm in the switch room. It was a PWD electrician who realised the seriousness of the fire and tripped power supply to the particular section and minister Babanrao Pachpute’s cabin. He then alerted other officials, who then called the fire brigade,” said the official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The fire brigade got the first distress call at 2.46pm. Officials said fire engines from the nearest fire station at Nariman Point reached the spot within four minutes. The highest emergency call, which is called the ‘brigade call’, was sent out at 4.03pm.