It looked like a scene from the Hollywood movie ‘The Towering Inferno’. A 15-storey residential building in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai was engulfed by fire. As dozens ran out of the high-rise, one man ran in, and saved 11 lives. The man who chose to display exemplary courage and ‘Rise’ is Avinash Bhate, Plant Associate, Auto Division, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. He was conferred the Mahindra Rise Veerta Award for 2019.
Says 58-year-old Avinash, “I was relaxing after returning home from work, when I heard shouts of fire from the adjacent apartment. I could see the 11th floor was burning. I rushed down to the apartment and heard cries for help.”
Avinash needed no second bidding. The locality was in darkness as the electricity was turned off. Armed with a torch, he took the stairs to the 11th floor, and on the way up picked up a fire-extinguisher to help douse the flames till the fire department arrived. Inspired by his selfless act, two neighbors joined him, and they rescued 11 people.
Recalls Avinash, “As we were trying to put out the fire, two LPG cylinders exploded, and this generated a lot of heat. As a result, the fire-fighters felt thirsty.” And it was Avinash to the rescue once again as he made six trips, up and down 11 floors to get them water.