A 26-year-old woman was killed and two other people were injured after a major fire broke out in a three-storey residential building in the congested Nagpada locality on Thursday evening.
While the exact cause of the fire is still not clear, the fire department suspects it was because of a gas cylinder explosion.
The victim, Amreen Qureshi, was alone in her second floor house in Aksa Manzil at Chowki Mohalla, when the fire broke out around 4.45pm.
According to neighbours, Amreen was mentally unstable. The room she was in was locked from the inside as well as the outside, and the windows had grills, making it difficult for her to escape.
Locals said the woman was crying out for help as the fire spread, but they could not enter the house and help her.
Neighbours said the woman lived with her father, Shah Alam Qureshi, who runs a food stall, after her brother and mother passed away. She was taken to JJ hospital with 100% burns.
The two injured, Abdul Qureshi, 35, and Shahida Kazi, 67, were also taken to the hospital with severe burns. “Both of them have suffered inhalation injuries. Kazi is a diabetic and her condition is critical,” said Dr TP Lahane, dean, JJ hospital.
Locals claimed the fire brigade reached the spot 45 minutes after the fire erupted. “We had no option but to start dousing the fire ourselves,” said Mohammed Shaikh, a resident.
The fire department, however, claimed they reached the spot within a few minutes. “We rescued two people and the fire was brought under control within an hour. The second floor of the building is badly damaged and unstable,” said HD Parab, assistant divisional fire officer.
Mohammed Zarar, a resident, escaped the blaze, as he had to pick up his children from tuitions. “When I returned, I was surprised to see the fire in a part of the building. I immediately called my wife and asked her to run out,” he said.
“After preliminary probe, the fire department said the fire could be a result of a gas cylinder explosion on the second floor. The exact cause is still to be ascertained,” said Anil Madvi, senior inspector, JJ Marg police station.