When Milind Desai, an Inspector in the Economic Offences wing of Mumbai Police, went out for dinner with his family to Gajalee, a seafood restaurant, on Sunday night, little did he know he would end up saving an 85-year-old bedridden woman’s life.
On June 12, at around 9.15 pm, a passer-by noticed smoke coming out from the window AC of a flat on the third floor of the Kamdamgiri Complex on Hanuman Road in Vile Parle (E).
He immediately rushed into the restaurant below and informed Madhukar Shetty, the co-owner of the establishment.
Madhukar Shetty and his brother Chandrakant operate the restaurant on the ground floor, while their respective flats are on the third floor. When they realised the smoke was coming from the window of one of their flats and their 85-year-old mother Seeta was alone there, they cried out for help.
Desai, who was having dinner with his family in the restaurant, came forward. He instructed his family to leave the restaurant, took one of the fire extinguishers from the restaurant and rushed to the third floor along with Madhukar.
“Inspector Desai wet his handkerchief and tied it around his face to cover his mouth and nose. When we reached the flat, we heard small explosions in the AC unit,” Madhukar told Mid-Day.
Both of them saw that Madhukar’s mother was lying on bed near the same window. While they knew the fire brigade and ambulance were on their way, they did not want to waste a minute. Milind and Madhukar lifted the woman and carried her to the terrace.
They then returned to the third floor and brought the fire under control. This was all done in a matter of 15 minutes.
“She was saved in the nick of time by Inspector Desai. It was an act of bravado,” said Madhukar.
Desai, who also credited Madhukar for his help in the rescue operation, said, “It was my duty to save her life. So, I decided to go up. The smoke got in through my mouth and nose. It was very difficult to breathe.”
Desai also said that quick thinking is very important in such situations and hence people should not panic. In this case, his actions did not just save a woman but may have also prevented the whole building from burning down.