Mumbai: Two persons were charred to death and 11 others injured in a major blaze that gutted an estimated 2,000 hutments in Damu Nagar slums in Kandivali (east) on Monday. One of the dead has been identified as Pralhad Kharat, 45. The other deceased is an unidentified minor.
According to fire officials, the blaze was triggered by a cylinder blast around 12.45 pm. This set off other cylinder blasts as the fire spread through the densely-packed slum. “Around 25 cylinder blasts took place, which was the main reason behind the fire spreading rapidly. Due to congestion and the presence of plastic and wood, the fire escalated quickly through the area,” said a Mumbai fire brigade official.
It took around four hours for the fire brigade to get the situation under control. Their task was made harder by the lack of approach roads. About 175 fire fighters were involved in the major rescue operation. They used 16 fire engines and eight water tankers to douse the fire. Twenty emergency medical vehicles and two private ambulances were also pressed into service.
The Damu Nagar slums are considered the city’s second-largest slum after Dharavi. The fire engulfed an area of around 500x1000 square metres on its periphery.
“This is not the first time we have lost our homes. Last time it was a demolition drive and this time it was a fire, but we have been at the receiving end both the times,” said Gulabrao Bhalerao, an affected resident. The government had demolished many of the shanties that were illegal in 2000....