A day after a massive fire gutted three shops at Kenilworth mall on Linking Road in Bandra, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta ordered a joint inspection of all shopping complexes, malls and multiplexes by fire safety and civic officials in the city starting July 27, officials confirmed. The decision was taken in a joint meeting held by Mehta at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)
A senior civic official said, “The commissioner has asked the fire brigade to issue a warning to all malls and multiplexes to fix illegal alterations in the buildings by 27, following which a joint-inspection of all the complexes will be undertaken by the fire brigade officials along with civic officials from the encroachment department.”
The Indian Express had reported on Tuesday that fire officials found many illegal additions and alterations during firefighting operations at the complex on Tuesday. Officials also said that the building’s fire safety equipment was out of order, the open spaces on two sides were encroached by shops. The basement ventilation was not working and the approach road to the mall was encroached which delayed the operation, along with heavy traffic due to rains on Tuesday. The second level of the basement was also used as a mosque, officials said.
P S Rahangdale, Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade said, “We have already cut-off water and electricity for all the shops in the complex. It will not be restored until we complete our investigation.”
While prime facie the fire seems to be caused due to a short-circuit at one of the shops on the ground floor of the complex, officials are yet to investigate the actual cause. A senior fire official investigating the case said, “We will definitely take action against the mall for flouting fire-safety norms after completing the investigation.”
The fire brigade took more than four hours to contain the fire, on Tuesday, that had spread owing to combustible material stored on the loft of the garment and footwear shops in the congested area. The fire brigade also found LPG cylinders stored on the third floor of the mall that could have aggravated the situation, officials said.