Firefighters and family who bid adieu to chief fire officer (in charge) Sunil Nesarikar on Monday remembered him as a visionary who would ‘encourage all staff members’.
Nesarikar, who had sustained 50% burn injuries in the Kalbadevi blaze, died at the National Burns Centre in Airoli on Sunday afternoon after a 15-day-long fight at the hospital.
Nesarikar was paid rich tributes by the fire brigade, which gave him a guard of honour at the Byculla fire station on Monday, followed by a funeral procession on an open truck from the fire station to the BMC’s headquarters, ending at Chandanwadi crematorium, Marine Lines, where the last rites were held.
Nesarikar is survived by his wife Jayashree, son Sidhant, who is in his second year at engineering college, and his mother, who was not informed about the death of her son until Monday morning.
“He was always present for the family and rose to the position of a senior officer with a lot of hard work,” a relative said.
Nesarikar’s brother, who was with him while he was battling for his life in hospital, landed in Mumbai from Ghana on Monday for the last rites.
Relatives from Kolhapur, Nesarikar’s native place, also paid their respect to the braveheart.
“He was encouraging and commanded respect for his humility even when he was given the charge of CFO. He was always eager to listen to innovative and creative ideas suggested by firemen to top-rung officials. He treated everyone with respect,” said a fire official trained by Nesarikar.
In a big setback for the fire department, four senior fire brigade officials have died in the three weeks following the fire on May 9.
Sunil Nesarikar, along with four other officers -- Sudhir Amin, MN Desai, SW Rane and RA Chaudhary -- had entered the Gokul Nivas building in Kalbadevi on the night of the blaze. While Desai and Rane died on the spot, Amin succumbed to his injuries last week.