Mumbai: A massive blaze on Sunday evening engulfed the performance stage during a cultural extravaganza at the 'Make In India Week' event. The fire broke out during a performance of Maharashtra's Lavani folk dance at the mega event at Girgaum Chowpatty beach.
The fire, which broke out around 8.15 pm, was brought under control after at least 14 fire tenders and 10 water tankers rushed to the site. The stage was completely burnt down and the show was stopped midway.
The disaster management plan put in place ensured the safe passage of the people attending the event - 'Maharashtra Rajni'. All the VVIPs, including Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan were safely evacuated to safer areas.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who personally monitored the evacuation operation from the venue, said that the fire that broke out at around 8.15 pm and was put under control. "No casualties reported, no one is injured," he said.
He also said a comprehensive inquiry was ordered into the fire and other 'Make in India' events will not be affected.
The exact cause of the fire that broke out one hour after the entertainment segment had begun was not known but 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.
Actor Vivek Oberoi, who was at one of the flanks of the stage and getting ready to perform another event, said the flames leapt 40 to 50 feet high and there was threat of it spreading to nearby tents because of the strong sea breeze, but things were brought under control because of timely coordination between various agencies. The blaze broke out when a lavani (dance) performance was underway.
"I must compliment the authorities for quick action, they saved lives of many people," said Ashish Shelar, BJP leader.
"I was watching a dance performance when this happened, then suddenly the stage was engulfed by smoke. I was backstage when this happened. Authorities were quick to react and evacuated people from there," actor Isha Koppikar said.
Lyricist Prasoon Joshi said he was there at the event because Amitabh Bachchan was reciting His poem. "As soon as the recital got over, I left the venue and another event started and suddenly the fire broke out," he said.