Mumbai: Five people have died, and 14 were injured, in the blaze that engulfed the Mumbai Mantralaya on Thursday. As 3000 people were steadily evacuated from the blazing state secretariat, five found themselves trapped with nowhere to run. Three of them, from Baramati and Akola, were visitors to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's office.
Mahesh Ghugale had gone to meet Pawar, with his friend Umesh Potekar, for help with his daughter's admission. He desperately called family and friends for help, as smoked filled the room they were trapped in.
Ghugale’s friend Paraschand Oswal said, "He appealed to us to call Mr Pawar, then he called his wife, said he was trapped. Then his phone went off."
The Potekar household too was engulfed in grief as it awaited Umesh's body. He was chairman of the Baramati Bank.
Even as Baramati mourned, a day after the blaze several Mantralaya employees made their way back to work, only to be told a holiday had been declared.
As relief operations continue to be underway for the second day at the Mantralaya, authorities are not ruling out the possibility of finding more bodies of people who may have been trapped in the deadly fire.