A massive fire on Sunday engulfed the stage at a cultural event held at Girgaum Chowpatty seafront here where a string of film celebrities and political leaders were present as part of the high-profile ‘Make in India’ investment meet.
However, the blaze was brought under control in quick time by 14 fire engines and 10 water tankers with swift evacuation of thousands of people.
The blaze broke out when a lavani (dance) performance was underway. This was almost one hour after the the programme had started. “The fire broke out at around 8.22pm,” chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters.
All the VVIPs including Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan were safely evacuated to safer areas. CM Fadnavis stayed back at the venue and personally monitored the evacuation and rescue operations. Amitabh Bachchan had left the stage a few minutes before the fire started.
State BJP spokesman Atul Shah, who was seated in the front row, said the fire apparently broke out from beneath the stage. Shiv Sena MLA Vijay Shivtare said a spark was noticed beneath the stage, which was a “wooden structure”, before the fire broke out. Shivtare said there were 500 artistes behind the stage and an estimated 50,000 people, several of them VIPs, had assembled at the venue.