Six Firemen and An Elevator

We decided to celebrate Diwali Festival [Festival of Lights] with my son and his family who stay across the road in a housing complex called ‘Tarangan’. This morning we were woken up by sound of some Fire Tenders rushing in. A glance at the garden from my son’s fifth floor apartment informed us that the trouble was somewhere close to us. People were gathering in the garden already and it was 5.15 in the morning.

We also rushed down to find that an apartment on the 14th floor was ablaze and two fire tenders had arrived and firemen were at work. The firemen were quick to bring the fire under control; but I could see that they were not exactly well equipped to handle a fire in a high rise apartment.

We stay at Thane which is the twin city of Mumbai. Several housing complex are being built in Thane and most of them are now rise above 20th storey. With such developments it is sad to see that some basic facilities are missing!

Six firemen who got into an elevator to reach the 14th floor, where the fire was raging, got trapped when the electricity was cut off. They died on the 14th floor, unable to come out of the elevator, and TV news reports are saying that they opened the elevator door about two inches wide only to find the carbon dioxide gas coming in to kill them!

We soon learnt that six firemen died, trapped inside the elevator. We saw the six stretchers being carried away and other firemen [by that time the fire was already controlled if not extinguished] sobbing, cameramen clicking and filming, some reporters rushing in to cover the ‘story’.

Residents of the building talked, in a hush-hush manner, that taking elevator was the wrong action [on the part of firemen] to take, aware they were of the inopportune time to make that observation. And about how the Fire Department was not adequately equipped and how the firemen were perhaps not well trained.

A deep sense of helplessness prevailed.

Seven homes were destroyed today; the one on the 14th floor and those of the six firemen. Given the lethargy of Municipal Corporation and Civic authorities in general, I will not be surprised if similar accidents repeat. How many such accidents will spur them to take some good measures is to be seen.

I pray for families of the departed souls.