Mumbai blaze: Fireman dies as Navy, CG choppers evacuate 21

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 19 2014, 00:36am hrs
A fireman died and nine of his colleagues were injured as Navy and Coast Guard helicopters evacuated a group of firefighters trapped atop a commercial building aflame in a Mumbai suburb today, officials said.

A major blaze broke out on 21st floor of Lotus Business Park, an upscale commercial building at Andheri, a little before noon and 21 firemen got stranded on the rooftop though all civilians were promptly evacuated.

"21 firemen were brought to our hospital, one of them was brought dead. Some of them are injured but none is serious," Medical Superintendent of Cooper Hospital Dr Sitaram Gawde said.

An official at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai's disaster management cell told PTI that only nine of those rushed to the hospital had received injuries.

Tawde said it was not yet known if the deceased fireman died of asphyxiation or due to injuries.

The firemen rushed to Cooper Hospital were those who had got trapped on the terrace of the building and were evacuated with the help of Navy and Coast Guard helicopters.

Fighting inclement weather, the Navy and Coast Guard personnel on two helicopters waged a grim battle to evacuate those trapped on the terrace.

Dramatic videos showed stranded firefighters clinging precariously to railings and scaffoldings as giant flames leapt menacingly towards them.

As timely showers caused the fire to abate, they managed to return to terrace after some time.

After hovering in the sky and finding no place to land, Navy and Coast Guard personnel lowered winches and firemen were hauled up the aircraft.

Although all 21 trapped on the rooftop were evacuated, one lost his life, apparently due to asphyxiation. Cooper Hospital Superintendent, however, said the exact cause of death would be known only after post mortem.

According to fire brigade officials, 22 fire engines, 10 water tankers and 6 jetties were deployed to quell the blaze which was extinguished after more than six hours.