Two persons were charred to death and eleven others injured in a major blaze that gutted over 1,000 hutments in a huge slum colony located in suburban Kandivali on Monday, police said.
The incident took place between 12.15 pm to 12.45 pm at Damu Nagar slums near Mahindra and Mahindra company's gate number 5 at Akurli Road in Kandivali East. The place is said to house a godown of various items.
The fire engulfed an area of 500x1000 square metres and over 1000 hutments situated on its periphery were gutted, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said in a release.
"Two persons were brought dead to hospital. While one of them has been identified as Prahlad Kharat (45), the identity of the other is being ascertained," the MCGM stated.
Although the exact cause of the mishap is not known, local residents claim that the blaze occurred due to a series of cylinder explosions in the hutments.
Among those injured, 10 persons have sustained minor injuries while one person's condition is stated to be serious with 30 per cent burns.
DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said the injured were admitted to nearby Shatabdi Hospital.
According to the officer, the relief and rescue operation was hampered initially as serial explosions of gas cylinders prevented the police and fire personnel from reaching deeper pockets in the slum.
"The police as well as the fire brigade had a tough time rescuing people and also dousing fire," the DCP said.
Meanwhile, locals came forward to help those who lost everything to blaze, and started providing relief material to the affected people at Lokhandwala ground nearby.
"Many people have lost their houses completely. The slum area is burnt down (due to fire). Many people are still stranded at the top site of the hill area. We have made proper arrangements with the help of MCGM," claimed Vilas Kanyal, a volunteer of Lokhandwala Township Citizen Association.
He said the ground has turned a sort of rehabilitation camp.
"We are making arrangements for water, food, bedsheets, daris, mattress, and medicines for the affected people," he added.
Meanwhile, MCGM Commissioner Ajoy Mehta visited the spot and directed the officials to expedite supply of relief material to the affected families.
An official said that arrangements for providing night shelter to the victims are being made in schools run by the civic body.
Photographs: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com
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