Two heroes saved many lives in Mumbai blaze, one died

March 18th, 2008 - 4:29 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, March 18 (IANS) Many more lives would have been lost in a blaze that broke out at an industrial estate here Monday evening if it had not been for the heroic zeal of two people who rescued many of those trapped. Of the nine dead, Hussain Bootwalla helped five people escape, but was killed himself. Before the fire brigade reached the Retiwala industrial estate, several people in the vicinity started rescuing people stuck inside by using the pipes outside the building.

Bootwalla, 49, a manager in one of the perfume-manufacturing units in the estate, saved the lives of five people by helping them climb down the pipes. By then, he was caught in the flames himself and was killed.

Pramod Dabholekar, who lives in a chawl opposite the estate, helped more than 30 people climb down the building with the help of a rope.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police have registered a case against Balijit Gandhi, owner of the aerosol unit that caught fire. Apart from those killed, 54 people were injured.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Deshbratta told IANS: “A case of negligence has been registered against Gandhi, whose shop caught fire due to short circuit, burning the entire top floor of the three-storeyed estate.”

According to Deshbratta, many of the people caught in the fire died due to choking as the fire emitted the poisonous gas carbon monoxide, which was used in the aerosol unit.

Gandhi’s unit manufactures air fresheners and deodorants. The estate is behind the Jijamata Udyan zoo in Byculla, south Mumbai.

The injured were rushed to the government-run J.J. Hospital and KEM Hospital in the vicinity. The dead include five women and the three men. The ninth body was charred beyond recognition.

Late Monday night, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil visited the injured in the J.J. Hospital along with Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor.

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