Tuesday, January 27, 2009



Bangalore: The holiday crowd came streaming to The Forum mall for a fun-filled Monday evening. And, even the fire at the food court didn’t deter their spirit.
There was panic everywhere, with people trying to rush out of the mall, ensuring friends and family were safe. Mall authorities had a tough time streamlining people and vehicular movement, what with people running helter-skelter. But the authorities managed to avert any damage by evacuating people from all six levels.
Even while the mall authorities were trying to evacuate thousands of visitors, curious onlookers gave them a tough
time. At one point of time, the police began wielding lathis to disperse the crowd and their efforts paid off. TOI spoke to several people who were witness to the incident.
Meenakshi Sundaram, a resident of Sanjaynagar and a senior citizen, was watching a movie in the multiplex and was asked to leave the theatre. Sundaram said, “I didn’t understand what was happening at first since we were halfway through the movie. But, suddenly the multiplex personnel asked us to evacuate the theatre. We hurriedly came out of the building.’’
Rohit Pillai, a software professional and a frequent visitor to the mall, stated this was a one-off incident and he would visit the mall when everything is back to normal. When asked about safety at these malls, he said such an accident can happen anywhere.
Divya and Deepa, two students from an airhostess training institute and frequent visitors to the mall, were anxiously looking on at what was happening. When asked if the incident would have any effect on their choice of hangouts, they said it was an accident and could happen anywhere. So they wouldn’t mind hanging out at the mall again. They said, “The mall is a favourite hangout for us. We watch movies, shop and have a nice time here with our friends. This incident is just an accident for us.’’
Lakshmi, who works at the multiplex, said she came to know about the incident at 6.30 pm when there was smoke everywhere. Then all the movie halls were evacuated by the personnel. All the shows were cancelled.
By around 7.30 pm, the entire mall was evacuated and all the floors were filled with smoke. Several hotel employees and fire personnel broke the outer glass shield near the food court. Raghu, an employee with one of the food court counters who had gone to break the glass and avert any major loss to his food counter, said the fire had started in one of the counters. Raghu, gasping for breath, said there were customers everywhere, but nothing happened to anyone, including the food counter employees.
Panic and chaos
There was panic everywhere, with visitors trying to rush out of the mall. Mall authorities had a tough time streamlining the people and vehicular movement
Smooth evacuation
Public announcement system was used to evacuate visitors immediately. Subsequently, people on other floors were also evacuated. Those watching movies too were asked to leave. Mall employees helped people to safety
They will visit again
Mall frequenters said this one-off accident will not deter them from visitng the mall as it is their favourite hangout.
Visitors to The Forum mall had a providential escape after a fire broke out in the food court
800-900 Estimated people near food court
500 Mall spokesman’s estimate
3,000 Estimated people in the mall 6,50,000 sq ft total mall area 3,00,000 sq ft parking
3,50,000 sq ft shops, corridors, etc 1 Ground level
4 Other levels
11 Screens


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