A massive fire broke out in the mangroves near Bhandup pumping station in Mumbai’s Mulund on Monday morning.
According to eye-witnesses, the blaze started around 10 am in the area off the Eastern Express Highway and adjacent to the road leading towards Nahur Station near Bhandup village in Mulund East.
Locals said that the fire started after a lit cigarette was thrown in the highly combustible grass, which quickly caught fire. An on-duty fireman concurred with the locals, without making an official statement.
The dry grass coupled with the hot weather caused the blaze to rapidly spread to an area of a few hundred square feet. While no casualties were reported, a sizable portion of the mangroves had been charred and destroyed.
Two fire engines and a water tanker had been deployed to control the blaze as of 11 am. Two police officials were also on the spot.
Although firefighters were able to douse the flames from some sections, the blaze kept spreading to nearby areas, making it difficult to bring it under control. The limited accessibility to the affected area further added to firemen’s woes.
The blaze is currently confined to a few hundred feet before the nearby hutments.
An auto driver, who parks at the rickshaw stand nearby, told Local Press Co that the area is prone to fires as passersby often throw lit cigarettes inside without considering the consequences.
He claimed that it was the third time he had seen the mangroves on fire this year; although compared to the current fire, the blaze was relatively manageable in the previous instances.
Meanwhile, firefighting is still underway as of publishing this report and further details are awaited.
The Mumbai Fire Brigade has faced a harrowing time tending to fires in such areas, most notably the ones at Deonar dumping ground, where fireman have limited reach and face a greater threat.
To minimize the risk, the department has floated tenders for the purchase of a firefighting robot, which will allow firemen to control fires remotely.View Realtime Updates