What caused the lift in which six firemen died on October 19 to malfunction? Nearly two weeks after the tragedy in Thane, this question remains unanswered.
At 11.28 pm on October 18, the Wagle Estate fire station got a call that a top-floor flat in Punarvasu building in Samata Nagar locality had caught fire after a firecracker landed in its balcony.
Lead Fireman GC Singh and his team — Kishore Patil (45), Tanaji Kale (42), Santosh Shinde (42), Suresh Jamadar (41) and Avdhut Thanekar (40) — rushed there to douse the blaze.
At 4.30 am on October 19, the station was informed that the fire had restarted. By the time a 35-member fire brigade team reached there, the fire had gutted the doors of three flats and the thick smoke made it impossible to see.
The firemen split up into three teams. Singh and his team took the elevator, which got stuck. All six firemen died of suffocation.
A civic inquiry headed by City Engineer KD Lala found that there was no back-up generator and that the firefighting system was not automated.
“I have the report. I’ll go through it and we’ll take the necessary steps. We cannot comment on the lift’s malfunction and the cause of the second fire as we are yet to get the reports of the lift inspector and the electric department,” said Thane Municipal Commissioner Nandakumar Jantre.