A Grade II fire broke out in a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) power station located next to Manish Market,in the bustling vicinity of Crawford Market at Fort on Monday. Around 5 pm,12 fire engines with six water tankers were dispatched to the site. No loss of life or injury has been reported.
While the cause of the fire is unknown,Chief Fire Officer Suhas Joshi said the fire began in the attic of the two-storey building that houses BEST sub-station on its ground floor. Above the substation are six to seven commercial establishments. The loft above the second floor of the building caught fire. The substation is safe and has not been affected, said Joshi. He added that a fireman suffered minor injuries.
Chief engineer of BEST electricity supply division,P M Shinde said,The fire did not take place inside the sub-station. It broke out in the godowns next to it. We cut off electricity supply to the surrounding area immediately. After the fire is brought under control,we will restore power supply, he said.
A senior fire official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations Fire Department admitted that space for establishments in the building may have been illegally leased out. The floors above the sub-station were leased out for commercial purposes. The attic was a godown for toys and decorative material. We have to still investigate the matter, said the official.
A merchant from the Dilkush Manzil building that stands next to the site said,BEST illegally leased out the building to these godowns. We saw flames around 5 pm and immediately shut our shop. On the first floor of the building,a commercial electronics shop has a prominent board on display reading Rose Garden.
According to Joshi,the fire department received a distress call at 4.56 pm. The first fire engine arrived on the spot at 5.03 pm, said Joshi.
This is the third fire to take place in the crowded market neighbourhood in less than a year. In November 2011,a fire in the Sara Sahara market gutted more than 2,000 shops. Although there were no casualties,the losses were estimated to be nearly Rs 200 crore. In June 2012,another Grade II fire broke out in Fatima Manzil,Musafir Khana area of the Fort market area damaging a commercial storehouse of aerosol cans.
Mkt redevelopment in cold storage
The five-year-old redevelopment project for the nearby Crawford Market was recently scrapped by the civic body in April. The BMC will now carry out the restoration of the heritage building and the redevelopment of surrounding structures without involving private developers. The project,however,has been in the cold storage since then. The initial plan gave RNA Builders the right to consume an FSI of up to four for non-heritage structures. The BMC was accused of gifting away the prime plot and profits worth over Rs 500 crore.