Two killed as industrialist Shekhar Bajaj’s duplex gutted (Second Lead, With Images)

Mumbai, Oct 18 (IANS) Two domestic helps were killed on Tuesday in a major blaze that gutted the apartment of a well known industrialist in a residential high-rise in south Mumbai’s posh Cuffe Parade area, officials said.

According to BMC Disaster Control, the fire broke out in the duplex on the 20th-21st floors that belonged to Bajaj Electricals Chairman-cum-Managing Director Shekhar Bajaj.

The cause of the blaze, which was reported around 6.30 a.m., was still being probed.

However, Chief Fire Officer P. Rahangdale said that as per a preliminary assessment, the blaze could have started in the air conditioning unit and spread from there to both of the flats in the duplex.

Eight fire tenders and six jumbo water tankers along with sophisticated fire-fighting equipment were deployed to fight the blaze which was brought under control within an hour.

The firemen, wearing breathing apparatus, climbed on an aerial ladder platform, used one small hose line, one monitor jet, two lines of risers to battle the blaze.

Seven persons from the lower flat and seven others from neighbouring flats on the same floor were rescued.

All 11 members of the Bajaj family, including an infant, were moved to safety soon after the fire was noticed.

The two domestic helps who died were in a room near the small internal staircase of the duplex.

Identified as Ajay, 32, and Kundan, 22, they succumbed to their injuries before admission to the St. George Hospital.

The hospital’s medical superintendent J.B. Bhavani said that the two victims had not suffered serious burns and they could have died due to asphyxiation after inhaling toxic fumes from the burning materials.

CFO Rahangdale said that the fixed fire-fighting system in the building was in working condition which helped the firemen to deploy resources very quickly, averting major loss of lives or assets in the high-rise.

Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and other senior officials visited the scene of the tragedy shortly afterwards.



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