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Pune Slum Inferno: Citizen Heroes Battle Flames, Explosions to Save Lives

“Our seniors relieved us, and requested as many of us as possible to help in any way. We are helping to manage traffic flow, to give space to rescued residents and aid fire extinguishers in accessing the fire without hindrance.”

A massive fire erupted in a Pune slum on 28 November 2018. The blaze, which started in a narrow lane around 1:00 p.m., soon escalated into an inferno, that affected hundreds of houses. According to a report in Maharashtra Times, out of 400 huts, nearly 200 have been reduced to ashes.

Fortunately, no casualties were reported from the site, thanks to the residents of the slum who came forward to help the authorities who were trying to fight the fire.

LPG cylinders in the huts that were near the origin of the fire, helped it expand far and wide. Speaking to the Indian Express, Chief Fire Officer, Prashant Ranpise said that at least eight LPG cylinders exploded in the blast.

As soon as the residents realised this, they started removing cylinders from their homes to prevent any further damage.


Cylinders are quite heavy to move around, and this was a dangerous move, but they soldiered on. Meanwhile, others helped to ensure that this process was carried out smoothly.

Sandesh Bhosale, an employee of a software company in the vicinity, told the Times of India, “People were seen rushing out of the slum with LPG cylinders and all sorts of belongings. I joined the police diverting the traffic. I took help of four security guards of our office and started cleaning the roads near the slum.”

Bhosale wasn’t alone. IT companies in the area also lent a helping hand by relieving some of their teams so that they could help out. Speaking to Pune Mirror, an IT professional said, “Our seniors relieved us, and requested as many of us as possible to help in any way. We are helping to manage traffic flow, to give space to rescued residents and aid fire extinguishers in accessing the fire without hindrance.”


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Samarth Siddique, a manager at Bajaj Finserv, went a step ahead. Speaking to the publication, he said,

“Our team helped elderly people evacuated and carried their cylinders out. We also focused on getting the children to safety, and carried water pipes along with the fire brigade and area residents to douse the flames.”

Source: Kiranpshinde/ Twitter.

The fire was finally brought under control around 3:45 p.m., but the residents of the huts that were destroyed in the fire, had no idea where they would spend the night. Hungry, tired, and distressed over the loss of their home and belongings, they eventually found shelter in the Babasaheb Ambedkar School which is quite close to the slum.

The inferno has left hundreds of the residents of the slum homeless, taking away important documents, precious belongings and even daily necessities. While it is now essential to rebuild infrastructure and rehabilitate the displaced population, we must appreciate the ordinary citizens who rushed to the aid of the victims, without a second thought.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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