Minister attempted to battle Mantralaya blaze
Mumbai, June 21 (IANS) Maharashtra's Tribal Welfare Minister Babanrao Pachpute was among the first to try to fight the massive fire which engulfed the top three floors of the seven-storeyed Mantralaya or state secretariat here Thursday, before realising its extent and escaping.
"I was working as usual in my chamber. Suddenly, I heard an explosion and saw a lot of smoke coming out," Pachpute, whose office is on the fourth floor, told media persons a short while ago.
Believing it to be a minor fire, he grabbed a fire extinguisher and attempted to douse it, he said.
On seeing thick smoke billow out, Pachpute raised the alarm and asked all the people in his office to vacate the premises.
"I also informed the fire brigade, called my home and went to the chambers of Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil and we went out of the building together," said Pachpute, who belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
As there was complete darkness due to a power failure in the building, the two had to use their mobile phone torchlights to navigate downstairs, he added.
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