Yesterday morning, at around 10:00 a.m., Bipin Kulkarni, a resident of Pune, was about to step out with his wife when the couple saw smoke coming from behind their living room sofa.
Upon investigating the issue, they realised that an electrical socket behind the sofa had had a short circuit and had caused a small fire. Before they could act to control it, the sofa too, caught fire which began to spread rapidly.
Luckily for them, Sajid Attar, a safety officer and fire expert from Pune was in Malabar Hills, their housing society, and was conducting a training session for the security personnel on how to handle fire-related mishaps in housing societies.
Attar has undergone proper training under the Pune fire department and is well-equipped with the knowledge and experience to act in such emergency situations.
The couple immediately called their security guards who informed Attar and Vilas Patil, the security-in-charge of the housing society, about the situation.
Speaking to the Pune Mirror, Attar said, “I was at Malabar Hills since 7:30 a.m. to train the staff for fire safety. Around 10:10 a.m., Patil and I got a call about the fire. Without wasting time, we rushed there. The fire situation had escalated when we reached. The sofa was burning, so were the chairs and other equipment in the hall. We were told that someone had already called the fire tenders, but we did not want to waste time.”
By the time Attar and Patil reached the flat, the fire had spread considerably. There was no point waiting for the fire department officials to arrive because that would mean risking the lives of the couple, as well as giving the fire a chance to spread through the apartment and perhaps, even to other flats in the building.
“The fire could have been worse had we not responded quickly, because by the time the tender would have reached, the fire would have spread to other apartments as it was growing at a rapid pace,” Patil told PM.
Elaborating on how the brave duo controlled the fire and potentially saved lives, Attar told the publication,”…we installed a pipe in the fire safety hose provided nearby and tried dousing the flames. Luckily for us, the fire safety hose was functioning, as in most apartments, it stops functioning after lying defunct for long. We also brought two fire extinguishers from the ground floor and sprayed on the affected areas—an action we were trained for by the Pune fire department.”
Within half an hour of the call to the security guards, the fire was completely contained. The fire tenders, too, appreciated Attar and Patil’s quick thinking and bravery. If not for them, perhaps the fire would have claimed multiple lives as well as severely damaged the property.
On a related note, the Pune fire department has listed out the Dos and Don’ts for fire safety. You can check out the details here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)