As a fire ripped through a pub at Mumbai's Kamala Mills last night, killing 14 people, two young men made sure that the number of dead did not rise. Mahesh and Suraj Giri, who were in the next building, are believed to have saved over 50 people. Both work in the server room of a television station in the complex.
Watching the rooftop engulfed in flames, the two climbed pipes to reach the fourth floor, broke open the lock on the exit and helped bring out people. Suraj led people to a back exit and Mahesh called the fire engines. "We were going to the washroom when we saw the fire and people running around. There were around 200 to 250 people in the rooftop restaurants".
As people ran towards the bathroom, Suraj led people to the direction of the back exits. He counts at least a dozen people whom he took to safety. "The smoke in the restaurant was black, so thick and pungent that one couldn't breathe for even for two minutes. I covered my nose with my shirt and just went in...then I kept pushing people to the exit," he told NDTV.
Mahesh remembered, "Some had lost their clothes, others had lost their slippers..."
People fell down near the only exit leading to a stampede-like situation.
Police investigating the rooftop fire said, pubs did not follow safety regulations and that made it extremely difficult for pub goers to run out. 1Above, where the fire started claimed all safety regulations were in place but the ones next door didn't have and hence the situation worsened. The pub owners meanwhile are missing and police have launched a manhunt to locate them. Cases have been filed for negligence and culpable homicide against the pub owners. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis has visited Kamala Mills compound and ordered that all illegal structures be 'demolished on a war footing'.