Primary investigation by police and officials from Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) has revealed that there was no adequate fire safety equipment at the unit. Authorities are now probing whether the unit had all the requisite permissions to run. Police have registered an offence of culpable homicide in the case.
Inspector Santosh Girigosavi of Chakan police station said, “As per our primary probe, the unit did not have any fire extinguishing equipment, emergency exits or any other measures. We have registered an offence of culpable homicide against the owner of the unit and people responsible for supervision. The land and building is owned by one Ramdas Kad of Kharabwadi and unit was being run by one Mohammed Abdul Kalam Khan, as per our primary information. We will also find out who else has been negligent in their duties leading to this disaster.”
Police officials said further loss of life was averted as the fire was brought under control soon. The unit was located between two buildings —a residential and a commercial sturcture. The commercial building houses several shops and a hospital, among other establishments. As fire intensified, the fire brigade officials evacuated the residential building and also removed gas cylinders from the houses.
The area where the unit is located falls under the jurisdiction of PMRDA. Devendra Potphode, the Chief Fire Officer with the PMRDA said, “Prima facie, we have not seen any fire safety equipment in the unit during our inspection. We are now trying to find out whether they had requisite permissions and certificates to run. We believe the unit might have taken some primary permission from the local gram panchayat. We are also trying to find out the cause of fire. We have come to know that the power went off sometime around the fire started. We are yet to check whether it had anything to do with the fire.”
A senior official from Pune rural police said, “There are hundreds of such units in Chakan that do not fall under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Many of these units handle inflammable or hazardous material and hardly have safety measures in place. It is high time that authorities look into these units.”