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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Siren a mock drill, shopper told: Alarm, smoke and then a rush out of Acropolis mall

People working in the offices on the higher floors of the building had only the emergency staircase to get out

Monalisa Chaudhuri Kasba Published 15.06.24, 06:05 AM
Smoke comes out of Acropolis Mall on Friday morning.

Smoke comes out of Acropolis Mall on Friday morning. Pictures by Bishwarup Dutta and Pradip Sanyal

A woman who had gone to purchase a laptop at Acropolis Mall was told that the fire alarm she heard was a mock drill and she went to the washroom on the first floor without any inkling that a store two floors above was indeed on fire.

She stepped out a few minutes later and found the place filled with smoke and people running.

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Speaking to Metro, she identified herself as R. Dey, a resident of Garia.

“I had just come out of the Croma store on the first floor when I heard the wail of a siren. I asked a guard seated nearby about it and he said it was a mock drill. I also thought the same. So I lazily walked towards the ladies' washroom. When I came out a few minutes later, the same place looked so different. The passage was full of smoke and people were running. I realised it was a real fire,” Dey told this newspaper.

The woman used the escalator closest to her to reach the ground floor and stepped out of the building at the earliest.

Smoke inside the Crossword bookstore at Acropolis.

Smoke inside the Crossword bookstore at Acropolis.

There were hundreds of others equally confused and shocked.

Dey recalled: “Just before I ran down the escalator — thankfully it was still operational — I looked up and saw the entire second floor filled with thick black smoke and people like me and uniformed staff running all over. Some of them were screaming. I had never seen a fire so close.”

Like Dey, several other people this newspaper spoke to wondered what could have happened had the mall been more crowded.

“I am a regular visitor here over the weekends. I usually visit at night to watch movies at the multiplex. Today, I just happened to be there for an urgent purchase. I cannot imagine what would have happened had this (the fire) happened during one of my night shows,” said Shreya Bose, a resident of Patuli.

People working in the offices on the higher floors of the building had only the emergency staircase to get out.

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