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'40 seconds more and it would have been a disaster'

February 14, 2016 23:41 IST

'We moved out just in time. The fire spread so fast.'

The fire gutted the entire stage. Photograph: Arun Patil

IMAGE: The fire gutted the entire stage. Photograph: Arun Patil

 

Shreyas Talpade, the well known actor, was present on stage when a fire broke out at the Make In India event at Girgaum Chowpatty, south Mumbai.

Talpade tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com what he saw.

I was supposed to go on stage after the Lavani performance. The dances were going on when the fire broke out.

I was waiting for my turn to perform when suddenly people started shouting, "Aag! Aag! (Fire! Fire!)."

The fire occurred below the stage and no one knew what happened. Some said it was a short circuit. I have no idea because there were lights, there was sound. I tried to see, but could not see what had happened.

I could not figure out what was happening. The only thing we heard were voices of people from below the stage, asking us to get off the stage immediately.

The only voices I could hear were, "Niklo! Wahan Se Niklo (Get out of there!)."

I saw the Lavani dancers, who were performing on stage, running towards us. Things happened so soon that I didn't know how to react.

Everybody was told to evacuate immediately and we started to move out as fast as we could.

I went to my vanity van where I saw that the fire was spreading very rapidly.

We moved out just in time. If I had waited another 40 seconds, it would have been disaster. The fire spread so fast.

Thankfully, the Mumbai police started evacuating people immediately. They did not allow anyone to stop. Everyne was told to move out.

Luckily, everyone showed a sense of responsibility and there was no panic. People were moving out quietly. The police were continuously announcing the directions where the exits were located.

The disaster management was spot on. That is the reason there were no injuries.

Luckily, no one stayed on to see what had happened. It is human nature to see what had gone wrong, no one was that foolish.

I feel the reason the fire spread so fast were the winds. It was very windy on Chowpatty beach.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com