Unsealed electric duct likely cause of fire in Lokhandwala highrise | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Unsealed electric duct likely cause of fire in Lokhandwala highrise

ByLinah Baliga
Jan 26, 2023 12:30 AM IST

The level 1 fire, which broke at Shivshakti building, between 12:30 and 1:30 am, took 2.5 hours to douse, causing residents to scurry through the stairs and gather in the building’s compound. The fire was confined to electric cables in the common passage on 24th floor up to ground floor and smoke accumulated on the 23rd floor

Mumbai: Ten residents were injured after an unsealed electric duct led to a short circuit causing a blaze in a 28-storey building at Lokhandwala complex in Andheri West on Tuesday night.

Unsealed electric duct likely cause of fire in Lokhandwala highrise
Unsealed electric duct likely cause of fire in Lokhandwala highrise

The level 1 fire, which broke at Shivshakti building, between 12:30 and 1:30 am, took 2.5 hours to douse, causing residents to scurry through the stairs and gather in the building’s compound. The fire was confined to electric cables in the common passage on 24th floor up to ground floor and smoke accumulated on the 23rd floor.

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Abhishek Dhuan (29), Chandramohini Kaushal (75) and Chitwan Kaushal (34) were treated for suffocation at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and subsequently discharged, while 85-year-old Shirin Motiwala is admitted in ICU of the hospital on account of her advanced age. Six others have been admitted to Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle.

A fire official told HT, “Prima facie, the fire broke out from a short circuit from an unsealed electric duct. The entire conduit from ground to 28th floor has been burnt. As the duct was not sealed, the fire spread vertically.”

The department will soon issue a notice to the building under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention Control Act for unsealed electric ducts. All residents have been evacuated from the building.

Nikhila Sridhar, chairperson of Shivshakti, said, “Everyone woke up to the fire that spread quickly in the early hours. They knocked at each other’s doors in help. I ran down and shut off the main switch first; the impact was not so great. Everyone came down by 3am,” she said.

The fire brigade arrived within an hour of the call and brought it under control. “We have asked everyone to leave the premises because the electrical board is damaged. Water cannot be pumped up and the gas supply has been shut down. How will people live here?”

Sweety and Noor Walia, 12th floor residents, had a narrow escape as they used the stairs to bring down their elderly grandmother. “We were watching TV at 1:30 am when our lights started flickering. We opened the door and were hit by a wall of smoke. I started shouting. My grandmother is 71 years – I went to the balcony and asked for help. Everyone’s decibel levels were up. Eventually we came down – it was a do or die situation,” said the two ladies in unison, adding that all the families residing here must be given adequate fire safety training to deal with such emergencies.

“I could not recall if we had to tie wet towels around our mouth. We knew how to remove the extinguisher but didn’t know how to use it. I called my friend from Kokilaben Hospital and was told that people who were exposed to immense dark smoke must get themselves oxygenated,” said one of them.

The Walias will now couch crash with their friends, as the building is unsuitable for habitation.

Prajakta Podwal, another 12th floor resident, said her family “will live with relatives for a few days”. Like the Podwals, a seventh floor resident said, “We will move in with relatives for at least two weeks till this is sorted. The cooling operation is over but our homes are inaccessible.”

Rakhee Chauhan who lives in a nearby building was about to turn in when she heard voices which sounded like a group of people bickering with each other. On listening closely, she heard someone call out to the watchman; she then saw the fire from the balcony. “I have friends in the building. I started making frantic calls to the police and the fire brigade of any other emergency number I could get my hands on,” she said.

When she went down, she saw residents of the building were already gathered outside the building making their way with the help of mobile phone torch. “The scariest part of the incident was watching the glass panes shatter loudly,” she said. “Fortunately, the policemen and fire brigade officials had already started evacuating.”

The building’s manager said, “We were told that the duct had tripped due to high voltage and tripped – within 10 minutes the fire coursed through the ground to the 28th floor.”

He called the fire brigade and approximately 13 fire tenders with 40-50 firemen arrived and saved the day, he added.

A spokesperson for Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital confirmed that six individuals were brought to the hospital’s accident and emergency department, with complaints of breathlessness, throat pain, burning sensation, chest congestion and persistent cough.

“A detailed diagnostic investigation was done as they had all inhaled smoke and suffered possible carbon monoxide poisoning. All six are stable now,” he said.

CEO and executive director of Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, Dr Santosh Shetty said, “The four individuals who were brought into the emergency department were given immediate attention. Two were discharged and the rest are still undergoing treatment.”

(With inputs from Payal Gwalani)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, March 02, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On