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The other heroes at the Taj

December 1, 2008
Text: Archana Masih

Sanjay Manjrekar was trained as a fireman, not to take on terrorists with automatic weapons.

When he and his team of 20 men from the Byculla fire station reached the Taj Mahal hotel, what awaited him was something he had not seen in his 20-year career. The call had come at 11.10 pm, it was Emergency Code 2, which meant the fire was serious but what they saw was definitely something else.

"There is always danger when you are fighting a fire but this was something totally different. There was fire at the top floor of the building, firing from within and grenades being hurled outside. We were instructed not to enter the hotel but to fight the fire from outside, something we had never done before," says Manjrekar, the officer-in-charge of his fire station.

Additional inputs: A Ganesh Nadar. Photograph: Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images. Image: Firefighters at the Taj, November 29

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