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Mumbai fire mishap: Lookout notice issued against ‘One Above’ owners; Illegal structures demolized

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(G.N.S) Dt. 30

Mumbai

Atleast 14 people including 11 women died and 54 others were injured in a midnight blaze in a pub in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills in the early hours of Friday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry into the incident, while five municipal officials were suspended as it emerged that the restaurant-pub One Above at the Trade House Building in the tony Kamala Mills Compound had been served notices in the past by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for alleged violations and even prosecuted for unauthorised construction and alterations. The Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-South Ward was transferred for lapses and negligence in allowing the eateries to operate there.

The One Above pub which was charred in the fire had been a continuous flounder. Kamala Mills is one of the commercial hubs of the financial capital and houses numerous eateries, restaurants, commercial outlets and prominent national media organisations. A day after 14 people were killed and many injured in a massive fire at a restaurant in central Mumbai’s Lower Parel on Friday, the city’s civic body this morning started a crackdown on restaurants in the area by demolishing unauthorised constructions.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC has taken action against at least six restaurants. A BMC official said that they pulled down “illegal roofs” of two restaurants – ‘Skyview Cafe and ‘Social’ in Kamala Mills and encroachments of ‘Pranay’ and ‘Fumes’ and ‘Sheesha Sky Lounge’ at Raghuvanshi Mills in the same locality. The popular restaurant ‘Pravas’, which looks like a bogie of a train, was also razed using an excavator machine.

Action was also taken against some restaurants in Andheri, the BMC official said.

There have been allegations that civic authorities ignored construction irregularities and violated safety norms in the compound. “We have already formed several teams and are collecting information about the hotels and restaurants, after getting complaints of unauthorised constructions by them. Several ward officers are also carrying out inspection and razing such illegal structures,” BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde said.

The fire that broke out at “1 Above”, a rooftop pub in the Kamala Mills compound, has raised questions about buildings in the city’s popular nightlife hubs and had triggered a safety audit. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an investigation amid reports that illegal structures in the building exacerbated the fire and safety measures were not in place.

BMC took action against at least five eateries and restaurants following yesterday’s fire.

Around 150 people were present at “1 Above” when the fire began. Witnesses said the entire building was engulfed in flames in less than half-an-hour. The fire is believed to have spread further as the roof of the restaurant was made of bamboo and tarpaulin sheets.

The upmarket Kamala Mills complex houses around 20 pubs, coffee shops and fine dining restaurants. Close to the New Year, the nightlife hub was alive with party revelry.

The police have booked the owners of the pub “1 Above” along with others, under various charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Multiple teams are searching for them and a lookout notice has been issued too to prevent them from escaping from the country.

Authorities to ascertain probe that caused Mumbai pub blaze

A massive fire broke out at a building in Kamala Mills Compound in the Lower Parel area of Mumbai. All possibilities, including that of short circuit, are being probed. A day after a devastating blaze at a central Mumbai pub claimed 14 lives, fire brigade officials on Saturday said they were probing whether flames during a fire stunt by a bartender, burning coal used for hookah or a short circuit caused the tragedy.

The blaze started after 12.30 a.m. on Friday at the ‘1 Above’ pub on the terrace of the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel, a commercial hub, resulting in the collapse of its bamboo-propped canopy. The fire, which left several people injured, also engulfed Mojo’s Bistro, a pub a storey below. Most of the 14 victims died of asphyxiation.

“We are probing if the flames created during a fire stunt by a bartender at the pub came in contact with plastic sheets that covered the bamboo structure and triggered the blaze. We are also trying to find out whether the burning coal used for hookah at the adjacent restaurant led to the tragedy. All other possibilities, including that of short circuit is also being probed,” a fire official said.

The 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).

After the fire, some escaped to safety, while others found their way blocked by fire and suffocating smoke. Many panicked patrons took shelter in a toilet, where they died of asphyxiation. Among those killed was Khushbu Bansali, the woman who was celebrating her 29th birthday and several of her friends.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday suspended five officials, including those attached to the G- South ward for dereliction of duty. There are allegations that the civic authorities turned a blind eye to construction irregularities and violation of fire safety norms in the compound. The same central Mumbai area — a former textile mill district now dotted by swanky glass-and-concrete towers — had witnessed death of 23 people in a stampede at a railway bridge on September 29 last.

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