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'I am happy that I could save the lives of my men'

December 19, 2008
When the fire raged, a hotel security guard was helping guide the police.

"We were separated by the fire from the DCP and the guide. They were out and we were stuck inside. There were eight men behind me," says Inspector Dole.

"The terrorists kept firing at us -- they knew we could not maintain our position. The fire had driven us out. They lobbed grenades too," he says.

How a few cops and staff saved hundreds at the Taj

He had worked for the United Nations for two years in 2001 and 2004, where he had undergone training in fire-fighting.

'It finally came in handy. It saved our lives that day," he says.

"I was carrying a State Reserve Police man's body (not realising that the man was dead); I thought we could save him. Suddenly, I saw a fire extinguisher. I dropped the body and picked up the extinguisher. I just held it fast and we left in the path it created."

When he finally emerged with his men, he saw a fire brigade outside the hotel.

"I made them direct their water hose at all of us. That is part of the fire drill. When you come out of the fire you must stand in running water. After that we got into an ambulance and were taken to Bombay Hospital."

"I had burn injuries on my face and body but I survived. I am happy that I could save the lives of my men."

"I have seen the riots of 1992, the (March 12, 1993) bomb blasts, then the blasts in taxis, the train blasts," says Inspector Dole, who has been with the Mumbai police for 23 years, "but nothing like this."

Image: Inspector Deepak Dole spends most of his time online now, studying cyber crime.

Also see: 'How we caught the terrorist alive'
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