MS Dhoni survives fire scare; Jharkhand’s Vijay Hazare Trophy semifinal postponed
MS Dhoni, former Indian cricket team captain, survived a fire scare on Friday. Fire broke out in Dwarka’s Welcome Hotel were he was staying with his Jharkhand state cricket teammates. All players and support dtaff were evacuated in time and are safe. (India vs Australia live)
Dhoni’s state team is currently in the Capital for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where his side reached the semi-finals. They were supposed to face Bengal on Friday, but the match has been postponed to Saturday.
The blaze started at a Reliance store on the first floor of the hotel, said Surender Kumar, DCP (South-West). Dhoni was on the ninth floor while other cricketers were staying across three floors from seventh to ninth.
“We were to assemble in the lobby at 7:30am as we usually do before a game, but at 7, I was asked to stay back in the room by Pratyush Singh as there was lot of fire and smoke at the ground floor lobby,” Ishank Jaggi, Jharkhand batsman, told ESPNcricinfo.
“It spread quite quickly and when we finally got out of our seventh floor rooms, all we could see around us was smoke. It was so thick that we couldn’t even see the far end of the lobby.”
The situation could have been worse as the fire alarm did not go off in time at the hotel.
“What added to our concern was the fire alarm didn’t go off, so we assumed it to be a small fire accident. But when there was a strong burning smell, we were asked to vacate immediately. The seriousness of it struck us only when we got out. The smoke spread to our rooms as well. That is when we were asked to run down the stairs,” Jaggi added.
Dhoni and the rest of the Jharkhand team were taken from the hotel to the Palam grounds. The semi-final and the final of the Vijay Haare Trophy has been postponed.
“The second semi-final of Paytm Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016-17 between Jharkhand and Bengal and the final have been rescheduled due to a fire accident which happened in the hotel where the teams were staying due to which the players were not in a position to play the match,” BCCI said in a statement.
“The BCCI confirms that all the players and match officials are unhurt and safe. The semi-final, which was to be held on Friday, March 17, 2017 at the Airforce Complex ground, Palam in New Delhi will now be held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Saturday, March 18. The final will now be played on Monday, March 20 instead of Sunday, March 19 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi.”
“We could smell something burning in the room but that was not that strong. At around 7.30am, when I went in to bathe, all of a sudden there was a lot of smoke and I rushed out picked up valuables and got out of the room to see dense smoke in the corridor. You could barely see beyond 10 metres. There were no fire alarms,” Tapash Charterjee, member of BCCI’s grounds and pitches committee, was quoted by a website.
There were a total of 540 people inside the Welcome Hotel in Dwarka when the fire was reported around 6am. Many were trapped inside, but the fire fighters and police managed to rescue them.
“We are still ascertaining whether everyone has been brought out safely. More than 30 fire tenders have been rushed there,” said Atul Garg, chief fire officer, Delhi Fire Services.