12-yr-old boy saves little sisters but dies retrieving school bag from burning hut
A fire which broke out in a hutment on the hillock of forest land in Kurar village, Malad east, soon turned into a level-2 inferno. After at least five gas cylinders exploded in quick succession, it escalated gutting about 100 hutments
Mumbai: Even as gas cylinders were exploding and hutments around were ablaze, 12-year-old Prem Tukaram Bore showed exemplary courage by entering his hut and saving his two younger sisters, he was then trying to retrieve his school bag, when a cylinder blast sent its lid flying and hit his face, killing him on the spot on a hillock in Kurar village, Malad East, on Monday.
The fire gutted around 100 hutments and Bore was the only casualty. He was declared brought dead at Shatabdi hospital. He was the son of a domestic worker, who was out for her daily work when the incident happened.
Sita Prajapati, whose house survived the fire, said that Bore first helped save his little sisters and was trying to enter his hut to get his school bag, when a cylinder lid came flying and hit him on his face and he died on the spot.
“He saved his siblings but did not realise how much impact a cylinder blast can have. He was standing at least 500 metres away from where the blast occurred,” she said.
A fire which broke out in a hutment on the hillock of forest land in Kurar village, Malad east, soon turned into a level-2 inferno. After at least five gas cylinders exploded in quick succession, it escalated gutting about 100 hutments.
The incident occurred at 11.11am and by 12.33pm, it was brought under control. About a hundred families have been rendered homeless as their belongings were charred.
Kavita Kamble, another resident, said the fire broke next to her hut. “We escaped looking for our kids. My entire house is gutted. I have been living here for over 30 years and even got married here on this hill. Everything from fridge to cupboards, is gutted. I only have one set of clothing, the one I am wearing.”
Prajapati said that it took one and a half hour for the fire brigade to reach and by then, half the hutments were gutted. Sanjay Manjrekar, chief fire officer said that prima facie the cause of fire escalated due to cylinder blasts and an estimated 100 hutments were gutted.
Commenting on the challenges faced by the fire brigade in reaching the hillock, Manjrekar said, “It took us 20 minutes to reach Kurar village. The approach road took more time as morning traffic density was more. By the time the traffic was cleared, the fire had reached level 2. Otherwise, it would have been doused at level 1.”
A fire official told Hindustan Times that the challenge was to circumvent a narrow lane and climb a hillock. “It was a challenge to walk up with the hose line and it took time. It was not possible for the fire brigade to reach any quicker. At least five cylinders exploded in a row,” he said.
Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner, P north ward said that since it was a forest land along Aarey, they were all illegal encroachments made of tin.
“We have got remaining hutment-dwellers to safe zone by shifting them to Parekh municipal school. We have made arrangements for them to eat and stay temporarily, much like how we provided monsoon shelter. We will allow them to stay for a day and then they will have to make their own arrangements. The fire is doused and under control, “added Dighavkar.
The residents, however, denied they were illegal encroachers. Kamble said in 2008, the hutment dwellers claimed to have paid ₹7,000 to the forest department, which allowed them to stay on the hillock. “There were numbers and symbols marked on our doors to declare them legal four days back by the forest department. On Sunday, a Shiv Sena politician had inaugurated a toilet for the slum dwellers,” said Prajapati.
Former BJP group leader Vinod Mishra has written to the forest department to rehabilitate the affected hutment dwellers. The forest department official could not be contacted.
Another fire due to cylinder
Mumbai: Another fire was reported due to a cylinder blast at 1.09pm at Narayan Nagar near Home Guard training centre in Ghatkopar west on Monday. The fire was doused at 2.25pm. No injuries or casualties were reported. Mahadev Shinde, assistant commissioner, L ward said that a godown caught fire.
“It was not a major fire. The cause isn’t ascertained. There were no casualties reported.” The fire was confined to electric wiring, electric installation, LPG cylinder, documents, exhaust fan on a 1,200 sq.ft ground plus one storey structure.