The six men, who suffocated to death when a bakery at Gagan Avenue in Kondhwa caught fire on Friday morning, had no chance of escaping. Investigation has revealed that the bakery had two shutters, and both were locked from outside.
According to fire brigade officials, while the bakery didn’t have a kiln, it had four LPG cylinders, including three commercial ones. The officials suspect that a short circuit caused the fire, which led to the death of the six men sleeping on the loft; five of them were employees of the bakery.
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The officials also said it was wrong to lock the shutters of the bakery, which had electrical connections and LPG cylinders, from outside. “We found no kiln inside the bakery but there was an oven and an electric grinder (aata maker) inside. Also, there were four LPG cylinders. We are trying to ascertain why these LPG cylinders were kept inside the shop,” said Station Officer Prakash Gore from the Pune Fire Brigade.
Gore said the bakery had an area of 200 square feet and was divided into two parts. “In one part, bakery products were displayed for sale and in another part of the shop, behind the display counters, there was a small kitchen-like set-up were the cylinders were kept. The loft was at a height of only four feet, and the workers were sleeping there,” he said. It took firefighters nearly an hour to bring the fire under control; most of the furniture and bakery products were charred by then.
“As there was no brick kiln, there was no need for the bakery to procure a NOC from the fire brigade. But it was wrong, in terms of fire safety measures, to lock the shutters from outside when workers were sleeping inside the bakery,” said Chief Fire Officer Prashant Ranpise.
The Pune City Police have booked the three owners of the bakery on charges of negligence, wrongful confinement and restraint of workers.