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Mumbai hardware shop gutted in fire, 2 killed in sleep

At least two youths were killed in their sleep when a massive fire raged through an electrical and hardware shop at the dead of the night in Andheri, the BMC Disaster Control said here on Monday.

The blaze was reported around 2.15 a.m. from Rajshree Electric & Hardware stores near the Saki Naka Metro station, and five fire engines and water tankers were rushed to the spot, with police supervising the operations.

The flames remained confined within the 200-sq ft congested shop's electrical fittings and wiring, but the shop also had two lofts with more goods stored there.

Locals claimed that there could be at least two to three persons, reportedly workers, still trapped inside, but the Fire Brigade have recovered two bodies.

They are identified as Rakesh Gupta, 22, and Ganesh Devashi, 23, said the BMC Disaster Control.

The officials said that due to the intensity of the blaze the two lofts were fully gutted and crashed down to the lower level, blocking the entry for the rescue teams.

Accordingly, the Fire Brigade deployed a bulldozer to break down the front portions of the shop and gained access to douse the flames and also retrieved the bodies of the two youths who perished in the tragedy.

The cause of the fire -- which was finally extinguished after nearly nine hours, is not clear and it's also unknown whether the double-lofts built inside the shop, which hampered the fire-fighting efforts, were authorised or not.

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