550 evacuated after fire breaks out in Ghaziabad mall

  • | Wednesday | 15th November, 2023

GHAZIABAD: Around 550 people, most of them watching movies on different screens, were evacuated after a fire broke out in Aditya Mall in Indirapuram on Monday evening.Fire department officials said a short circuit in the electric cables led to a fire on the ground floor. Smoke billowed up the shaft and filled the four auditoriums where people were watching movies.Although the audience panicked, the mall staffers and the fire departments teams managed to bring them out well in time.There were no injuries, officials said.Rahul Pal, the chief fire officer, said they received a call from the mall authorities around 8pm and sent a team with five fire tenders. "A short circuit caused the fire on the ground floor. When we reached the mall, the staff were trying to douse the flames and control the visitors who had already started to panic. The movie auditoriums, which were filled with smoke, were a cause for concern as many people were inside. There was always the possibility of an untoward situation like a stampede," said Pal.He added that ambulances and doctors were kept on standby. "People in the movie halls had started to shout for help. Since there was smoke all around, it was difficult to see clearly," the CFO said.A family of five was stuck in an elevator for a few minutes as the electric supply was disconnected. They were rescued after the door was forced open by the fire department team."Our main concern was to rescue the people stuck in the auditoriums. There were around 450 people inside. Many of them were children and senior citizens and complained of breathing distress. One team was formed to bring out the kids and the elderly, and another to show others the exit routes. Fortunately, people followed the order and there was no untoward situation," Pal told TOI.Jeetendra Kumar of Vaishali had gone to watch Tiger 3 with his friends when he saw smoke coming out of the AC vents. "My eyes started to itch, but I chose to ignore it thinking it was the pollution that was causing it. But after a while, I saw smoke coming out of the vents. Soon, we learnt that a fire had broken out in the mall. We had started to panic, but the fire fighters brought us out safely," he said. The fire officer ruled out lapses on the part of the mall authorities. "The fire fighting equipment were found to be updated and in order," he said.Vijay Sharma, the mall general manager, described it as a "scary moment". "This is the first time I have seen anything like this in the mall. The auditoriums were filled with smoke and we were worried about the people who were inside. We have four movie halls, with an average capacity of 180. The people were evacuated through various routes," he added.The area around the shops were not affected by the fire. "The mall is open today (Tuesday) as usual. The movie auditoriums are, however, closed for repair work. We are changing the cables. I hope movie shows will resume from Wednesday," Sharma said.

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