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Mumbai shop fire: 20-year-old worker jumped out of loft window, fractured both legs

Survivor said he had not time to take the stairs; doctors believe he will be able to walk normally in a month or two

mumbai Updated: Dec 19, 2017 11:49 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
sakinaka fire,mumbai,andheri shop fire
One of the survivors, Akhilesh Tiwari, 20, jumped out of a window 20 feet above the ground, fracturing both legs. (PRATIK CHORGE/HT)

One of the eight survivors of the Sakinaka fire was awake when he heard an explosion. Worker Akhilesh Tiwari, 20, jumped out of a window 20 feet above the ground, fracturing both legs.

“Everyone was asleep in the loft around 3.45am, when I heard the noise. I knew I had to escape. There was no time to take the stairs. Everything happened so fast. The next thing I remember is people taking me to the hospital,” he said.

Doctors said he would be able to walk normally in a month or two. Twelve other workers asleep on the makeshift mezzanine floor weren’t as lucky — the heat from the fire jammed the glass door, trapping them inside.

Tiwari said several cylinders — used to prepare the workers’ meals — and kerosene stocked inside the structure helped the flames spread faster.

Brothers Tejas and Tushar Pawar, whose house shared walls with the shop, also made it out to safety.

The two, who have been living in the area with their mother for the past two decades, were roused by the commotion. “The noise and smell of kerosene woke us. We were lucky enough to be able to run out of the house before the fire engulfed the workshop and our home,” said Tushar. He said he saw workers trapped behind the glass door.

Relatives and friends said most of the victims were from Uttar Pradesh, except for Shivnarayan Prajapati, 21, who was from Nepal.

“He had come to Mumbai four months ago in search of work. He was the sole breadwinner of his six-member family,” said his cousin Guruprasad, who identified the body. “He has two 10-year-old brothers and an older sibling. His parents are elderly. Owing to their age and financial constraints, they couldn’t travel here to see their son’s body for the last time,” he added

Doctors from Rajawadi Hospital said that 10 workers suffered third-degree burns between 60% and 70%, while two suffered 100% burns. “While the burn injuries were life-threatening, the probable lack of ventilation resulted in smoke filling the room, choking the victims,” said experts.

First Published: Dec 19, 2017 09:58 IST