Sudhir Amin had displayed bravery and selflessness while carrying out the firefighting operation.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Sudhir Amin who sustained major injuries while carrying out rescue operations in Kalbadevi building which had caught fire died at National Burns Centre located in Airoli yesterday evening. He had displayed bravery and selflessness while carrying out the firefighting operation. Amin who was in the ICU on ventilator support as his lungs had damaged finally succumbed to multiple organ failure. The 50 year old had sustained 90 per cent fourth-degree burns and was unable to breathe.
Doctors said the infection spread throughout his body and caused multiple organ failure. His kidney had also been affected and he was put on dialysis earlier this week. Since Amin had inhaled the smoke after being stuck under the debris his respiratory track was damaged. He was awarded the President’s Gold Medal for meritorious services during the November, 2008, Mumbai terror attacks.
The BMC officially promoted Sudhir Amin to the position of deputy fire officer on Monday. This was an auxiliary role he performed until recently. The proposal to promote Amin was pending for at least six months.
According to officials in the fire brigade, the BMC’s standing committee cleared the proposal as soon as the gravity of his condition became known. “It’s really shocking that the BMC cleared his promotion only when he is critically injured,” said a fire department officer.
Chief Fire Officer Sunil Nesarikar, who sustained 50 per cent burn injuries (his condition is stable but critical) isn’t a fullfledged chief fire officer – he is a deputy chief fire officer in charge of Bandra, BKC and Andheri, who serves as an adjutant CFO. Of the seven posts of deputy CFO, only four have been filled.
“Damage to Amin’s health was more grievous as he was stuck under the debris for almost two hours. Sunil Nesrikar was stuck for almost 15 minutes,” said Dr. Keswani who’s been treating them at National Burns Center.
Station officer Mahendra Desai and assistant divisional fire officer SW Rane were crushed death when one of the building walls collapsed on them.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has compromised on firemen’s safety by providing them with substandard uniforms, boots and equipment. With a staff of 2,600 manning nearly 35 fire stations that heed to emergency calls pertaining to fire, building collapses, road and rail accidents, drowning, gas leakages, oil spillage, fallen trees and rescue of even trapped birds and animals, the department has a specialised job to do.
“The firemen have been demanding special uniforms, gumboots and more modern firefighting equipment from the BMC but they have turned a blind eye towards this issue” said a fire official on the condition of anonymity.
“Firemen never get their uniforms in time and if they do, they are ill-fitting and of poor quality forcing them to stitch the uniforms on their own. Even the gum boots provided to them melt due to heat thereby causing injuries to them” he added.
Fire stations are generally equipped with specialised equipment with firefighting and rescue vehicles, ambulances, breathing apparatus, hydraulic rescue tools, electric chain saws, concrete or steel cutters, chemical protective suits, fire proximity suits, search cameras and other devices. But even the fire resistant suits provided to fire men are of poor quality.
After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack incident it was revealed that Mumbai’s firefighters had poor personal protective equipment. However most of the proposal remain on paper and are yet to be implemented.
In July, last year, a fire at Lotus Business Park claimed the life of 35-year-old Nitin Ivalekar. The department was heavily criticised for miscommunication and lack of supervision in the incident.
The Kalbadevi fire mishap has hit the morale of the fire brigade. Many firemen blamed the increasing number of deaths during rescue operations on illegal structures and the flouting of the rules.
The narrow lane leading to building 33 hampered access. Only two fire engines of the 17 that rushed to the spot could reportedly gain initial access to the building, and ran out of water soon.