10-year-old uses school drill to save 17 lives in Mumbai

Mumbai: A fire broke out on the 12th floor of a posh high-rise residential 17-storey Crystal Tower building near Hindmata Cinema, on Wednesday morning, killing four people and injuring sixteen. After a fire broke out, 10-year-old, Zen Sadavarte, showed her presence of mind by employing safety tips she had learnt at school to ensure that her family and neighbours remained safe.

A student of Class VI of Don Bosco School in suburban Matunga, Zen stays with her parents and a brother on the 16th floor in the 17-storey Crystal Tower building at Parel in central Mumbai.

How the class VI student saved lives

‘I was sleeping when my mother spotted smoke and woke me up. Since it was a holiday on account of Eid, I slept a bit longer. My parents woke me up and when they opened the kitchen window, the entire flat was filled with smoke. My neighbours and a few others had gathered by the time.

I saw everybody on the floor was panicked, frustrated and disturbed due to the fire… All of us went to our neighbouring flat in search of safe place, where I asked them to be calm and not to get disturbed.

With the help of cotton, water and cloth pieces we made purifiers and handed them over to all the people in the flat. I asked everyone to keep the purifiers on their mouth. This stopped them from suffocating due to smoke and they were able to breath well, preventing inhalation of carbon dioxide. When a cotton piece is soaked in water, you can breath almost normally as carbon molecules are separated by the water. It was a time of panic… I told my neighbours to shut the power supply, stay calm and breath easy. I also asked them to sit down and find a safe place. We all tried this for a few minutes. After some time, the fire brigade personnel arrived and all of us were rescued.

“I learnt all this during a project when my Class III teacher Snehal ma’am taught me lessons of dos and don’ts in a school project of disaster management during fire. I am happy that whatever I learnt in a school project was useful in saving many lives,” Zen Sadavarte,10, Class 6 student

Smoke spread through staircases

  • The fire that broke out on the twelfth floor of 17-storey building quickly spread to the upper floors and neighbouring flats. The cause of the fire will be known after an inquiry.
  • Thick, black smoke spread through the building’s staircases, making it even more difficult to bring residents out. Two persons died in a lift and many were stuck on the stairs.
  • At least 20 suffocated due to the smoke. They were rushed to the nearby KEM Hospital, where four of them were declared dead.