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Kamala Mills fire: How the quick thinking by two security guards saved nearly 150 lives

Two security guards have been hailed as heroes for their rescue operations that saved several lives after a nightclub in Mumbai caught fire late Thursday.

Suraj Giri and Mahesh Sable, working security guards at Times Now, saw the fire break out just after midnight. Sabke told DNA that a number of patrons at 1 Above, the nightclub that caught fire, could not escape because the flames had blocked their path.


Twenty-five-year old Sable, while speaking to DNA said that the Times Now office, and the nightclub were part of Trade House in Kamala Mills, which means that they were all interconnected. “I was at the link room when I saw the fire break out. The regular exit had been blocked, as a lot of cloth that made up the decor for the nightclub caught fire. I then went to another terrace and directed patrons to escape from there,” he told DNA.

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Meanwhile, Giri stood downstairs and gave directions to people on the best route they could take to escape. In the process, the duo managed to save over 150-200 guests.

Sable, who is pursuing his BA, dreams of becoming a police officer. “I am glad that I had the presence of mind to act swiftly,” he said.

Kamala Mills fire: BMC suspends 5 officials over tragedy that killed 14
The blaze that started at 1 Above, the rooftop pub, spread rapidly through the building, killing 14 people, most of them women, who were attending a birthday party. Read that article here

The fire, which also injured 21 people, started after 12.30 am in the “1 Above” pub on the terrace, and spread to Mojo pub on the third floor one level below, said an official of the Mumbai civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

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The two gutted pubs are located in the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel area, a popular night spot as well as commercial hub housing several offices including national television channels.

“I was in the night shift. We heard people screaming at the pub. Initially, we thought it is due to the party which was underway there,” said Sanjay Jadhav, a programme producer of a news channel.

“When I came out of my office, I saw that a fire has broken out at the roof top pub. The main entrance of our office was blocked due to the flames,” he said.

Suraj Giri (l) and Mahesh Sable saved nearly 150 lives thanks to their presence of mind
In Pics: Massive midnight fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound kills 14; many restaurants gutted
The massive blaze engulfed the entire building in about 30 minutes and took several hours to be put out. The cause of the fire is not known.

Kirit Somaiya, BJP lawmaker in the Lok Sabha, blasted the authorities for the negligence after a massive fire in Mumbai’s Kamla Mills compound claimed 14 lives on Friday. (SEE PICS)

In a series of tweets, Somaiya, who is BJP MP from Mumbai North-East, slammed the civic body BMC. Talking to reporters in Delhi ahead of Parliament session, Somaiya also said that the BMC officials were responsible for the ‘murder’ of people in Kamala Mills fire.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Somaiya demanded action against corrupt BMC officials and the owner of the pub.

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Recalling the Farsan tragedy that killed 12 people 15 days back , Somaiya tweeted, “Fire at Pub at Kamala Mill Compound Mumbai I had urged CM & BMC Commissioner to Order Special Fire Audit of all such Pub, Hooka Parlours & Farsan Mart/Workshops of Mumbai. 2 week back similar type of fire at Farsan Workshop Sakinaka 1 dozen people had died.”

He also said that “such establishments at Kamla mills compound are illegal.”

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“Kamala Mill pub fire-understood that several such establishments at kamla mills compound are illegal, part of which was regularised lately , the place where fire took place was illegal,” the lawmaker tweeted.

He also spoke about Phoenix Mill compound. “Kamala Mills is a death trap. So many new restaurants opened without healthy fire safety system- Even Phoenix Mill at Lower Parel is a death trap with only two exits. One exit at Maruti showroom is blocked – Fire Safety Audits for both Complex be conducted immediately.”

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Somaiya is not the only BJP leader who has slammed the BMC. Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar also demanded for a probe in the incident hinting at ‘unholy exchange between the BMC officials and the restaurant’.“The incident was very unfortunate. One should investigate whether there was some give and take unholy exchange between the BMC officials and the restaurant where fire took place. I’m going to ask BMC commissioner to investigate into the matter,” Shelar said.

Permissions for rooftop restaurants will have to be given with caution in Mumbai henceforth, Shelar added.

A massive fire at a pub hosting a birthday party killed 14 people, most of them women, and injured 21 shortly after midnight in a posh Mumbai locality, police said today.

Most of the victims, who included 11 women, died of asphyxiation in the tragedy in Lower Parel area, police said.