Nine deaths in Bangalore fire, shocks city
Wednesday, 24 February 2010, 03:03 Hrs | 4 Comments
"I thought the channels were making it big because of the visuals they were getting. At first, it appeared that many people in the upper floors of the complex were simply looking out," said K. Vanajakshi, a housewife.
"But I was shocked when they started telecasting visuals caught on mobiles showing some jumping out in panic and others using bare hands to break the glass panels for fresh air," she said.
That was around 5.30 p.m. and she sat glued to the TV for the next three hours, switching channels to catch the latest till the doctors at the Manipal Hospital, to where the dead and the injured were rushed, confirmed nine deaths and 60 injuries.
Similar was the case in hundreds of houses and offices across the state as the dimension of the worst fire tragedy in the state in over a decade started unravelling with more dramatic visuals caught on cells making it to the channels.
K.S. Kashinath, a retired state government official, said since there was no visual of fire belching out of the complex and only smoke, he thought there would not be any deaths.
"I feared, though, that many would suffer from inhaling the smoke as I saw people using their bare hands to break open the glass panel to let the smoke out."
"I have been in the city for over six decades. I cannot recall a fire accident that took so many lives in Bangalore in the last 20 years," he said.
Microblogging site Twitter was flooded with one liners updating the rescue effort and casualty numbers.
Some of those trapped in the building also tweeted, telling they were safe, waiting for fire brigade personnel to be rescued and asking family members and friends not to panic and desist from trying to reach the complex.
City police and fire personnel also did not expect nine people will lose lives as there was more smoke and less fire.
D.G. Chengappa, director of fire services, said this was the worst fire tragedy in over a decade in Karnataka in terms of number of dead.
Police and fire personnel said doors of fire exits in the building were locked adding to the panic of the hundreds trapped in the complex.
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