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Rediff News  All News  » News » Bombay House's basement is a fire trap, says Fire brigade

Bombay House's basement is a fire trap, says Fire brigade

February 10, 2011 00:40 IST

The unfortunate death of three men at the Tata group head quarters Bombay House in Mumbai has exposed the callousness in confirming to the safety norms set for buildings.

The Mumbai fire brigade officials who took part in the operation to control the fire at Tata headquarters on Wednesday said that the basement turned out to be a death trap for the victims. The gaping hole in the fire safety standards in building that houses the office of the Tata group chairman has alarmed the fire brigade officials.

According to the fire officials, the blaze broke out at around 9.30 am in the basement that houses a small office, a canteen, an auditorium, a changing room and power substation. The employees, identified as Farad Wadia, Eashwar Patel and Shashank Pawar were unable to find their way out due to the dense smoke and went to nearest window in the hope of finding air.

They could not get any respite at the windows as they shuttered tight for air conditioning. As it happens in fires, the employees died of suffocation and not directly from the flames. They were bought out of the building at around 10.15 pm by the Fire Brigade and were declared dead when they were rushed to Saint George Hospital.

Fire Brigade officers said that the smoke immediately set in a panic among the few employees present who all started running here and there. In the melee three employees working in the canteen- Farad Wadia the cashier and two other employees Eashwar Patel and Shashank Pawar could not get out. These employees who were probably blinded by smoke instead of rushing out then rushed into the building and tried to breathe through the windows.

Unfortunately for them the windows were shut, which is what went against them. By the time they were brought out of the building at around 10.15 pm by the Fire Brigade it was too late they were rushed to the St George Hospital where they were declared dead.

A statement from Tata Group said that group offered its deepest condolences to the bereaved families and stated that the relief measures were being organised. It added that the group was extending its full cooperation to the authorities in the investigation.

N Ganesh in Mumbai