Home States Maharashtra Massive late-night fire at Mumbai complex kills 15 people, several injured

Massive late-night fire at Mumbai complex kills 15 people, several injured

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(G.N.S) Dt. 29

Mumbai

Victims died of suffocation in the blaze during a birthday bash. A birthday bash at a pub in a central Mumbai building ended in a tragedy with the death of 15 people, including 11 women, in a blaze that broke out shortly after midnight. Most of the victims died of suffocation. A massive late-night fire that broke out at a Mumbai complex has killed at least 15 people, officials said. The blaze erupted just after midnight at a building in the popular Kamala Mills restaurant and shopping compound. It engulfed the structure within 30 minutes, local media reported. More people have been injured in the blaze, with several being treated in hospital.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) disaster management control room said that the injured had been taken to KEM Hospital at Parel.

Fire officials said they received the first call at 12.27 a.m. and they rushed eight fire engines and fire tankers to the spot. The blaze was initially declared as a Level II fire but upgraded to Level III at 12.42 p.m. as the fire spread.

According to the fire control room, the fire was reported to have broken out at a restaurant called ‘1 Above’ located in Kamla Trade House.

Eyewitnesses, including several journalists working in media organisations situated in the same compound, said the fire spread fast and affected two adjoining diner-cum-pubs.

Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

It is not yet known what caused the fire at the 1 Above rooftop restaurant. Local media reported that an artificial ceiling made of bamboo collapsed, trapping people inside as they tried to escape. According to the Times of India, many of the guests tried to seek shelter in the bathroom and were trapped there. The paper also cites a hospital doctor saying that all the deaths were due to suffocation. TV and social media footage showed firefighters and rescue teams at the scene, with the top of the building consumed by flames and plumes of smoke. Most of the casualties were women attending a party. A 28-year-old woman who was celebrating her birthday died in the fire, her grandfather told Reuters news agency.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire and have filed preliminary charges against the restaurant’s owners. BBC Gujarati’s editor Ankur Jain was dining in the same restaurant when the fire broke out. Here is his account of the incident: “It was a happy evening which turned into the scariest night for me. I was at the restaurant with my sister and friends when we heard someone screaming, ‘Run, there is a fire’. Within seconds, there was a stampede and the fire engulfed the whole restaurant before anyone could realise what went wrong.

“The way to the fire exit was among the first places to catch fire. We managed to escape but not everyone could. We could hear blasts on the rooftop while we were running down the stairs.”

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.

Kamala Mills is a refurbished industrial compound and houses several upscale restaurants, bars, offices and hotels.

It is also home to several media outlets with a number of national news channels affected by the fire, including Times Now, Mirror Now and ET Now. In its daily crime report, the police also said the pub’s manager and other staff fled from the spot instead of helping the customers injured in the blaze.

“No fire safety norms were followed by the pub and the management did not make any arrangement for the safe exit of its customers during the blaze,” police said. They said there were hindrances created on the emergency exit way. “Negligence on the part of the pub led to the death of 14 customers and injuries to several others.” “The manager and other staff of the pub ran away from the spot without helping those injured in the blaze,” police said.

Meanwhile, a civic official told PTI the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had taken action against the pub more than three times for “violations”. According to the official, the pub had obtained the fire safety and building permissions from the civic body in October 2016. “However, as ‘1 Above’ flouted the rules and regulations by way of encroachment and other violations, the BMC had taken legal action against its management on May 27 for using the open space for commercial activities,” he said. Notices had been served on the pub on August 4, September 22 and October 27 this year by the BMC, asking it to stop encroaching on the open space, he said.

Chief Minister Fadnavis orders enquiry

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed his grief over the incident and ordered an in-depth enquiry.

“Disturbing to know about the loss of lives in unfortunate Kamala Mills fire incident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth enquiry,” he said in a tweet.

In another tweet, he said he had directed Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta “to take strong action against erring officials immediately“.

Prime Minister expresses anguish over loss of lives

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish over the loss of lives in the fire. “Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

Birthday party turned tragic

A birthday party was going on at the One Above pub, located on the third floor of the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound.

A woman celebrating her birthday was among the 14 killed after a blaze broke out at a pub in a central Mumbai building, shortly after midnight on Friday.

The celebration was at the One Above pub, located on the third floor of the Trade House Building in Kamla Mills compound on Senapati Bapat Marg in Lower Parel when the fire broke out.

Officials said most of the victims, who took refuge in the washroom, died of suffocation. Eleven of the 14 killed were women.

Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

Mumbai fire tragedy raised in Parliament

The fire tragedy at a restaurant in Mumbai’s Kamla Mills compound that claimed the lives of 14 people, found mention in both Houses of Parliament on Friday. Members raised the issue during Zero Hour discussions.

In Lok Sabha, BJP MP from Mumbai North East Kirit Somaiya was the first to raise the issue. Claiming that the complex had been constructed flouting norms, he went on to say Mumbai witnessed many such tragedies this year.

Arvind Sawant, the Mumbai South MP, too raised the issue and asked for an impartial probe into the tragedy. In Rajya Sabha, Congress MP Rajani Patel raised the issue. She wanted to know if the Mumbai Corporation undertakes any security checks before granting licences to pubs, eateries, and restaurants. Seeking a thorough probe, Husain Dalwai of NCP claimed the fire extinguishers in the pub were not working.

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