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Demands met, brave Mumbai fireman's kin take his body

Last updated on: July 19, 2014 19:48 IST

Demands met, brave Mumbai fireman's kin take his body

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The family of slain fireman Nitin Ivalekar, who had refused to take possession of his body until their demands for adequate compensation and a Government job were met, relented after getting a firm assurance in this regard from Mumbai civic officials on Saturday.

Ivalekar died on Friday after being trapped on the rooftop of Lotus Business Park, a 22-storey commercial building in suburb Andheri where a massive blaze broke out, while taking part in firefighting operation.

According to Fire Brigade officials, the 35-year-old civic employee's wife, Shubhangi, had refused to take his body for last rites till about 2 pm even after respects were paid to him at Byculla fire station at 9 am.

"The family members of Nitin were asking for Rs 50 lakh compensation but we explained to them that giving such a huge amount is not possible. The maximum they can get is about Rs 30 lakh, including the money that will be paid by the Municipal Corporation. However, the final amount will be arrived at only after valuation taking various factors into account," Chief Fire Officer A N Varma said.

Earlier, Shubhangi had told a television channel that she wanted "a written assurance from the government that the compensation will be given to us. I want to secure the lives of my children. My husband was thrown into the fire and left to die."

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Image: The grieving family members of firefighter Nitin Ivalekar on Saturday
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com

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The slain fireman's wife (31) had demanded a government job for herself to take care of financial and educational needs of her minor daughters.

"Only after we gave in writing that compensation will be paid and a suitable job will be given to her within a month that she agreed to take her husband's body from Byculla fire station," Varma said.

Twenty-one firemen got stranded on the rooftop of the building, whose 21st floor was engulfed in flames around afternoon. They were later rescued with the help of Navy and Coast Guard helicopters. 

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Image: Mumbai fire-fighters carry Nitin Ivlekar's body on their shoulder as they give him their last respects, in Mumbai on Saturday
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com

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The incident, which started as a routine fire call soon became a major operation as 11 firemen were trapped, necessitating a helicopter rescue operation by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard later in the afternoon.

The deceased fireman, Nitin Inglekar, was trapped along with 10 other colleagues in the thick smoke billowing on the top of the Lotus Business park and succumbed, an official of the BMC Disaster Control said.

There was no escape route for the firemen trapped on the terrace as the flames and thick smoke blown by the strong winds hampered fire-fighting operations.

As the situation became serious and there was no other way to save them, the civic authorities requested help from the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard.

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Image: The fire at Lotus Business Park in suburban Andheri
Photographs: Courtesy: Sheetal Alva

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Demands met, brave Mumbai fireman's kin take his body

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Immediately, the Indian Coast Guard deployed a Chetak helicopter and the Indian Navy sent a Sea King helicopter to the fire site to rescue the trapped firemen.

They were rushed to the R N Cooper Hospital for first-aid or treatment as required. The condition of three of them is reported to be serious.

Inglekar belonged to the Borivali Unit of the Mumbai Fire Brigade and was among the first group which responded to the fire call.

The blaze was first noticed on the 21st floor and the flames quickly spread to the 22nd floor of the building, officials said.

It was brought under control at 4 pm, the official said.

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Image: Navy chopper in action to rescue trapped firemen at Lotus Business Park in Mumbai on Friday
Photographs: Courtesy: Sheetal Alva

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The fire -- the cause of which is not known -- broke out at 10 am on Friday when a majority of the office complexes in the building had not yet opened for the day's work.

As many as 40 fire tenders battled the flames even as a few people present on the lower floors were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The building houses offices of several prominent corporates and film companies besides offices of film stars like Hritik Roshan and Ajay Devgn.


Image: The fire at Lotus Business Park in suburban Andheri
Photographs: Courtesy: Sheetal Alva
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