Mumbai: It was a terrifying moment for over 50,000 people as a massive fire engulfed the stage at a cultural event held at Girgaum Chowpatty seafront in Mumbai where a string of film celebrities and political leaders were present as part of the high-profile 'Make in India' investment meet but there were no casualties.
Amitabh Bachchan had left the stage a few minutes before the fire started. All the VVIPs including CM Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan were safely evacuated to safer areas.
So, how did the Maharashtra officials manage to save several lives?
Effective disaster management plan
The disaster management plan put in place ensured the safe passage of the people attending the event.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis had personally monitored the evacuation operation from the venue.
Swift action by fire officials
Reportedly, the fire that broke out at around 8.22 PM and was brought under control in quick time by 14 fire engines and 10 water tankers with swift evacuation of thousands of people.
Timely coordination between various agencies
Actor Vivek Oberoi, who was at one of the flanks of the stage and was getting ready to perform another event, said the flames leapt 40 to 50 feet high and there was threat of it spreading to nearby tents beause of the strong sea breeze but things were brought under control because of timely coordination between various agencies.
Fire safety audit
A fire safety audit was conducted prior to the programme and all SOPs were followed. Number of fire fighting equipment were kept stationed at venue.
The venue was evacuated immediately and traffic management allowed early disbursal without any trouble.
Bollywood star, politicianss laud govt, police efforts
Aamir Khan said, "It was a very 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".
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray hailed the role of Mumbai police and Fire officials in putting out the flames swiftly.
"Unfortunate fire at Make in India event at Chowpatty. As of now all safe, great efforts by @Mumbai Police and Fire dept. In evacuation," he tweeted.
Actor Shreyas Talpade said, "I was going on stage after a dance performance and during that performance someone noticed a fire on the stage and informed the authorities. People who were performing on the stage could not see the blaze. But the authorities, including the disaster management team, acted immediately. If anyone had stayed on the stage even for a minute, it would have been disastrous."
Inquiry ordered; PM Modi concerned
A comprehensive inquiry has been ordered into the fire tragedy. Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to CM Fadnavis about the fire incident.