A major fire broke out at a powerloom unit located in a four-storey residential building at Rahat Manzil in Bhiwandi around 6.45am on Tuesday, injuring four residents and three fire officers.
The ground floor of the building housed the powerloom unit, first floor was a godown, while the second, third and fourth floors were residential. The 300 residents of the 63 flats in the building woke up to smoke inside their houses. As the news spread, around 200 youngsters from the area rushed to the spot to help the rescue operations. A few powerloom owners opened their units to give temporary shelter to those who were evacuated.
The injured residents were identified as Raju, Mohammed Yasin Qureshi, Babu and Shakila Bano. Fire officers Kantilal Temlal Gujar, Kamlakar Govind Kanath and chief fire officer Datta Salvi, too, suffered injuries.
Mohammed Yasin Qureshi, 26, an electrician, who came to the help of those stranded in the building, said, “On reaching the spot, I saw residents crying for help. Without a thought, I climbed the stairs. The smoke cover was so thick that I could not see a thing.”
Qureshi managed to reach the second floor, only to be hit by the fire brigade’s water spray. “The pressure of the water was such that I got thrown out of the window. I fell on the shed of another factory, which gave way. I had to be taken to the Indira Gandhi Memorial hospital with the other injured people,” he said.
Atik Ansari, 33, owner of a powerloom unit in the area, said, “I opened the unit to give shelter to residents of Rahat Manzil. We asked all residents to disconnect the gas cylinders in their homes and put them on the terrace.”
Apart from the fire tenders from Kalyan, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi and Mumbai, nearly 28 other water tankers were brought to the spot. The residents were evacuated using two hydraulic lifts from Thane and Bhiwandi. The fire was doused after three hours. “We suspect short circuit was the cause of the fire,” said Datta Salvi.
R Shinde, senior inspector, Shantinagar police station, said, “We have registered a case of negligence. The owner of the unit, Sayyed Waliullah Ansari, has been charged, but is yet to be arrested. The investigation is on. We are yet to ascertain the loss of property and whether there was negligence on part of the owner.”