BANGALORE: Two people suffocated to death while four others were rescued in an accidental fire that broke out in a four-storeyed building in Gandhinagar near Majestic on Sunday.
The building houses a number of advocates’ offices. Fire Department officials attributed the fire to a short circuit.
The deceased are Nayaz (61), a resident of Yelahanka, and Sundar (60) of Vijaynagar.
Three of the survivors have been identified as Sridhar, an advocate from Chitradurga, Sunil, a finance company employee, and Mohammed, a tailor.
Nayaz, who worked as a typist in an office on the first floor, was in his office with Sundar, a client, when the fire broke out on the floor around 3 pm.
Many people tried to rush out of the building but their path was blocked by smoke. Nayaz and Sundar rushed into a chamber and closed the door, but died of suffocation.
Sridhar, Sunil and Mohammed, who were on the third floor, went to the terrace and started screaming for help.
Ramesh, a security guard at a neighbouring building, noticed the heavy smoke and alerted the Fire and Emergency Services Department.
The officials managed to enter the building through a lodge behind it.
Not the First Such Case Here
Meanwhile, Fire Department personnel accused the building owner Anand Bhandari of not following fire safety rules and not obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from them.
There have been minor fire accidents here in the past, but the owner ignored them, they said.
“As there were no causalities or major damages earlier, the incidents went unreported,” said Shivakumar, who has an office on the second floor of the building.
There are 22 advocates’ offices in the first two floors, while a clothes godown, finance office and tailoring shops are situated on the third and fourth floors.
A senior police officer said the building has no emergency exit and windows.
“People can’t find their way out easily if such accidents happen,” he said.
Upparpet police have registered a case of negligence against Bhandari.
SURVIVORS recount the horror
One of the survivors, Mohammed, relived the trauma. “I was about to leave to deliver school uniforms when I noticed the smoke on the first floor. I managed to reach the terrace and screamed for help. After a while, fire staff came and rescued me along with three others.” Naveen, who works at an office on the second floor, said more than 100 people are usually present in the building during the day, but there were only a few when the fire broke out as it was a Sunday.