MUMBAI: A massive fire on Sunday engulfed the stage at a cultural event held at Girgaum Chowpatty seafront here where a string of film celebrities and political leaders were present as part of the high-profile ‘Make in India’ investment meet.
However, the blaze was brought under control in quick time by 14 fire engines and 10 water tankers along with swift evacuation of thousands of people.
Here’s how a huge tragedy was prevented by efficient and quick action of the authorities led by none other than chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
* The blaze broke out when a lavani (dance) performance was underway. This was almost one hour after the the programme had started.
* “The fire broke out at around 8.22pm,” chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters.
* All the VVIPs including Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan were safely evacuated to safer areas.
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* CM Fadnavis stayed back at the venue and personally monitored the evacuation and rescue operations
* Amitabh Bachchan had left the stage a few minutes before the fire started.
* State BJP spokesman Atul Shah, who was seated in the front row, said the fire apparently broke out from beneath the stage.
* Shiv Sena MLA Vijay Shivtare said a spark was noticed beneath the stage, which was a “wooden structure”, before the fire broke out.
* Shivtare said there were 500 artistes behind the stage and an estimated 50,000 people, several of them VIPs, had assembled at the venue.
* Actor Vivek Oberoi, who was at one of the flanks of the stage and was getting ready to perform for another act, said the flames leapt 40 to 50 feet high.
In pics: Fire at ‘Make in India’ event
* There was threat of it spreading to nearby tents because of the strong sea breeze but things were brought under control because of timely coordination between various agencies, Vivek Oberoi said.
* “I was watching a dance performance when this happened, then suddenly the stage was engulfed by smoke. I was backstage when this happened. Authorities were quick to react and evacuated people from there,” actor Isha Koppikar said.
* Lyricist Prasoon Joshi said he was there at the event because Amitabh Bachchan was reciting His poem. “As soon as the recital got over, I left the venue and another event started and suddenly the fire broke out.”
* Aamir Khan said, “It was a pretty bad fire and spread at an alarming speed due to wind. I am fortunate to be alright. Police and fire dept did a wonderful job in evacuating people. Thankfully, there were no injuries. Evacuation was smooth”.
* Actor Shreyas Talpade said, “I was going on stage after a dance performance and during that performance somebody noticed a fire on the stage and informed the authorities.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has actually announced an inquiry to know the cause for fire. The disaster management plan put in place ensured the safe passage of the people attending the event, said Fadnavis. Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray hailed the role of Mumbai police and Fire officials in putting out the flames swiftly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had yesterday inaugurated the event, spoke to Fadnavis about the fire incident.