Mumbai: He climbed seven floors of a burning building thrice to bring down three people on his shoulder. One of the heroes in rescue operations after the tragic Kamala Mills fire that killed 14, Constable Sudarshan Shinde was, on Tuesday, honoured for his valiant and selfless effort.
DD Padsalgikar, Mumbai Police Commissioner, appreciated the bravery shown by Shinde after a blaze that gutted two rooftop restaurants in Kamala Mills on Thursday night.
Nothing can compensate the loss of lives in the #KamlaMillsFire but PC Sudarshan Shinde’s efforts to evacuate victims & save lives, deserves being commended. Our prayers are always with the grieving families. pic.twitter.com/tEhTYsTnl3
— CP Mumbai Police (@CPMumbaiPolice) January 1, 2018
One of the first to reach the spot, Shinde - along with fellow cops from the Worli Police Station and local fire brigade officials - began rescue operations immediately. A photograph showing him with a woman on his shoulders since went viral on social media with people lauding the cop.
Speaking to DNA, he later recounted the horrific sight on top of the building. "When I reached upstairs, everything was burnt and charred. When I reached down, I could hear exploding sounds. Which I feel were of alcohol bottles and gas cylinders. There were several hookahs that added to the intensity of the flames. I could see only one woman coughing. The rest, I believe, may have died of suffocation,” he said. The woman was put in an ambulance but she reportedly died en route.
Eyewitnesses however say Shinde continued to battle the inferno and continued to do his best to rescue as many as possible. And he was not alone.
Apart from bravehearts from the Police and Fire Department, there were many others who too threw caution to the wind in their bid to help. Suraj Giri and Mahesh Sable - guards with Times Now channel which has its office in the same building - also jumped right in to help out. "I was at the link room when I saw the fire break out. The regular exit had been blocked, as a lot of cloth that made up the decor for the nightclub caught fire. I then went to another terrace and directed patrons to escape from there," said Sable.
While an inquiry has been ordered into what started the fire and accusations have been flying about illegal permissions being possibly given to the two resto-bars, there are tales of tragedies of 14 families. But that number could have gone up had a handful of heroes not stepped in and stepped up.