A major mishap was averted by the firefighters of Gautam Budh Nagar who helped rescue at least 250 people trapped by a fire, which broke out in the basement of a factory in Sector 4 on Thursday.
At least three labourers and four fire department personnel suffered injuries during the evacuation process that lasted an hour. They were sent to Metro hospital in Sector 6 for immediate treatment.
It took the fire personnel three hours to douse the flames that charred the basement and ground floor of the building. The total loss of goods could not be estimated till late evening.
Onlookers said firefighters used ladders to create a bridge between two buildings to evacuate 60 labourers trapped on the second floor. Ropes and hydraulic platform were used to evacuate the remaining labourers.
Around 2.30pm, a fire broke out in the basement of the A-101, Sector 4. Two companies are run from this building. The basement and ground floor belong to Gitika Overseas Private limited, an export company involved in construction and shipment of furniture and sports gear. The first and second floor belong to Siddharth Exim, another manufacturing company. At the time of the fire, around 250 workers were present in the building.
According to the workers, the cause of the fire was supposedly the wood kept in the basement of the building.
“Fire broke out among the furniture kept in the basement due to an accident. In no time, the fire engulfed the basement and spread to the ground floor,” said Mithilesh, who works on the ground floor.
The fire tenders reached the spot in under five minutes as the nearest office was just 400 metres away.
“At 2.33pm, we received information about the fire and at 2.38pm, we were present at the spot with fire tenders. A total of 20 fire personnel along with officials and eight tenders were involved in the operation,” said Sushil Yadav, fire station officer, Phase I, Noida.
As the lower floors and the staircase were engulfed by flames, workers were trapped on the first and second floor. The firefighters used ladders to form a temporary bridge between two buildings and evacuated 60 labourers trapped on the first and second floor.
“It was a risky operation as we were using ladders suspended mid-air, connecting the rooftops of two buildings. We also created another bridge connecting a window from the second floor to a nearby building. We managed to complete the evacuation due to the bravery of our staff,” Yadav said.
The fire department also used hydraulic platforms and ropes to rescue labourers.
“We reached the top floors using the hydraulic platform and rescued as many people as possible. Two ropes were also used to rescue labourers,” Yadav said.
Jamshed, an employee at Siddharth Exim, said, “We were working in the second floor when we heard screams. Heavy smoke had engulfed our floor by that time. I sustained minor injuries on my right hand while using the rope to come down.”
“Due to the heavy smoke inside the building, I and three of my men started choking after the evacuation. We too were rushed to the Metro hospital for treatment. Everyone is out of danger,” Yadav said.
Anil Pratap Singh, station house officer, Sector 20 police station, said, “We reached the spot along with the fire department personnel and were present during the entire operation. The injured were quickly sent to the hospital for treatment. The cause of fire is being investigated.”
Despite repeated attempts to contact the representatives of Gitika Overseas Limited, none was available for comment.