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Heavy smoke from Worli blaze leaves residents breathless, ill

While 16 firemen were injured, team says SOP followed

mumbai Updated: Dec 30, 2018 22:47 IST
Sagar Pillar
Sagar Pillar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Worli
Fire Brigade personnel at Sadhana building in Worli on Sunday. (HT Photo)

While 16 fire personnel were injured dousing the fire at a pharmaceutical lab in Worli on Saturday, the smoke left residents of six buildings in the vicinity complaining of headache, uneasiness, itching in the eyes and chest pain.

According to an official from disaster management team of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), of the 16 fire personnel who were hospitalised for suffocation, six are still in KEM hospital and their condition is stable. The lab is located in a commercial building at Sadhana Mills Compound behind Worli’s BDD Chawls.

Although the fire was doused by 12.30am, residents said they could not sleep through the night. Dighambar Kadam, a resident of building no. 81 of BDD Chawls, said, “My eyes started to burn. We helped the firemen get to the hospital. But most of us from nearby buildings haven’t slept a wink.”

Residents of nearby buildings alleged that an 82-year-old woman living on the ground floor of building no. 81 died owing to inhalation of chemical smoke. The police, however, refuted the claims. Pandit Thorat, senior inspector, NM Joshi Marg police station, confirmed no case had been registered till the time of going to press. “The senior citizen who died in the neighbouring building had nothing to do with the fire. She died before the fire,” said Thorat.

The mill compound houses corporate offices of several leading companies and serves as a storage space for medicals and chemicals. Civic officials said the pharmaceutical lab where the fire broke out manufactured immunity drugs.

Ramesh Kyatham, another resident of BDD Chawls, said, “Such laboratories should not be allowed to function near a residential area. The policemen did not ask us to vacate the premises.”

Meanwhile, the fire brigade maintained the firemen were wearing breathing apparatus and followed the standard operating procedure. P Rahangdale said, “It is difficult for firemen to continue the operation for four hours, even when they are wearing a breathing apparatus. So we replace our team members every 30 minutes.”

The union of fire officers, however, raised doubts on the quality of equipment used. Prakash Devdas, president of the Municipal Fire Brigade Officers Association, said, “The quality of fire safety equipment is not up to the mark. They should be provided with the latest equipment.”

Devendrakumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of G south ward (Worli, Lower Parel), said, “There was thick smoke everywhere. We had to demolish three walls. We have summoned the owners of the lab to bring their requisite permits to the ward office and further course of action will be decided after this.”

First Published: Dec 30, 2018 22:46 IST