Ten days after a huge fire burnt down the stage, equipment and decorations worth Rs 5 crore at a cultural event organised by the Maharashtra government at the Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai, the city’s Fire department has blamed “willful negligence” by the organisers, mainly the event management company, for the incident. In a report submitted on Wednesday, the Mumbai Fire Brigade has stated the cause of fire to be a “defective electric circuit”. Incidentally, no action has been proposed against the organizers or the event management company.
In its 185-page report uploaded on the website of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Fire Brigade has said that repeated instructions on fire safety were ignored in the run-up to the event. “In spite of repeated instructions no heed was paid by the organizers to follow these safety instructions. This act… shows willful negligence / willful flouting of the fire safety instructions in spite of the fact of having knowledge of the same,” reads the report.
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The report further states that after considering all probable causes, the likely cause of the fire appears to have been a ‘defective electric circuit’. “The likely cause of fire is concluded as defective electric circuit (electric spark from the electric wiring came in contact with combustible materials underneath the stage) contributed by negligence of organizers / event management company by storing highly combustible material below the stage that has aggravated the fire,” states the report.
The report also says the Fire Brigade had expressly asked the organizers not to use LPG gas cylinders. Yet, 15 LPG cylinders were found at the site of the fire. The pyrotechnics that were part of the stage performances fuelled the fire further and caused it to spread rapidly.
On February 14, a massive fire broke out during the ‘Maharashtra Night’, a cultural event organized to showcase Maharashtra’s cultural heritage from ancient to the modern age. The entire stage of the event was engulfed in the fire with the remainder of the performances being subsequently cancelled.