Mumbai: All 84 people stranded on the terrace of the MTNL building in Bandra West, that had caught fire earlier, were rescued by the firefighters, Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade said. The fire had broken out at the MTNL building in Bandra West and soon escalated to Level-4 on Monday afternoon. Initial reports suggested that about 100 people were trapped on the terrace.

Fire brigade personnel deployed a robot for the first time during firefighting operations in Mumbai. Fourteen fire engines and other equipment, including an ambulance, were used in the operation.

Two fire brigade personnel, who were exposed to the smoke, had to be shifted to a nearby hospital. Fire brigade personnel had to also deploy an aerial ladder to rescue people. The fire was confined to the third and fourth floors, an official said.

One of the rescued people, a woman, told a leading daily, “When we came to know of the fire, we looked for the staircase, which had become partially invisible due to heavy smoke.”

She said they had closed all the windows and doors of their office and fire brigade rescued them all.

Congress leader Ashok Chavan alleged “large-scale corruption” in fire and structural audits of buildings in Mumbai and asked the Shiv Sena-ruled local civic body to own up its “mismanagement”.

Reacting to the blaze in MTNL building in suburban Bandra, the former state chief minister said that reports had claimed that the fire audit of the nine-storey building was done just last year.

“If this is true, people need to know why the fire brigade had difficulty in rescuing those trapped. Fire brigade faced difficulties due to the small windows and closed structure of the building. This is a serious issue and its cognisance should be taken,” he said.

“Whether its fire audit or structural audit of buildings, recent incidents of fire and building collapse in the city have proved that there is a large-scale corruption. The civic body should own up the responsibility of this failure,” he said.