Aero India fire: How support staff saved the day

Last Updated 23 February 2019, 11:46 IST

Fighting the major fire mishap in the history of Aero India—Asia's largest biennial 'Aero Show' in which over 350 cars were completely gutted, parking attendants and drives have emerged as heroes by saving close to about 100 cars from the raging inferno. Drivers of various cars, parking attendants and housekeeping staffers put up at the place immediately rushed to the spot and began moving vehicles to a safer area.

Even as the thick smoke and fumes had engulfed the area, these men braved the severe conditions and broke open the windshields of the glass to release the hand brakes and move vehicles to the safer area. At the same time, a few of the volunteers helped the fire tending vehicles to navigate through the parking lot by moving the vehicles and lent a helping hand in rolling out water hoses from the fire tending vehicles.

Lokesh, one of the attendants at the spot spoke to DH that he and other drivers managed to safeguard close to about 100 cars.

"We helped move close to about 100 cars to the safer area. Although we had damaged the cars to break open doors and release hand brake, we are happy that at least we safeguarded them from complete damage. We were initially a bunch of 10, but soon we were joined by a team of 40 to 50 people," Lokesh narrated.

A couple of volunteers who tried breaking the windshields of the cars bled profusely in their hands. Nevertheless, they managed to get vehicles to a safer position and saved them from the inferno.

Rushing back to check on their vehicles, as soon as they got to know about the fire mishap, the owners were inconsolable. Some of them had left their belongings inside the car fearing security frisking. Several of them had purchased cars a few months ago. According to initial reports, several swanky SUVs belonging to the families of the IAF officials, Defence personnel and VVIPs have been gutted.

Speedy wind and dry leaves fuelled the fire

As the fire mishap area was an open field, the fire brigade personnel too found it difficult to douse the fire owing to the high wind speed. The parking area had a lot of dry grass vegetation and littered with fallen leaves from the trees. "Hundreds of car were parked beneath the trees which had shed leaves and cars were parked on the bed of these leaves. Adding to woes, the wind was also blowing at high speed making it unable for the fire brigade personnel to contain the fire," Anand Kumar, a volunteer at the parking lot told DH.

(Published 23 February 2019, 10:29 IST)

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