At least 14 people died, including 11 women, and 19 others were injured when a major fire broke out on the top floor of a building inside the Kamala Mill compound in Lower Parel in the early hours of Friday. After preliminary investigations into the cause of the fire, the Mumbai police registered a case of culpable homicide against the owner of an establishment named One Above. The fire broke out in the One Above eatery and engulfed neighbouring establishments.
While the fire broke out around 12.30 am, it was brought under control by 3 am and cooling operations continued subsequently.
The fire started on the sixth floor of the building, possibly in a makeshift shed on the roof. The building houses several commercial establishments including the offices of some media houses as well as a handful of restaurants and resto-bars.
Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
Senior police inspector Ahmed Pathan from the NM Joshi Marg police station said, “We have registered an FIR and have started our investigation. We will ascertain the facts of the incident. We are also taking help from the fire department,” adding that the cause of the fire remains unclear.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth enquiry into the matter and said, “Disturbing to know about the loss of lives in unfortunate Kamala Mills fire incident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth enquiry.”
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several others also condoled the incident.
Reacting to the fire at Kamala Mill Compound, Kirit Somaiya said, “I had urged CM and BMC Commissioner to Order Special Fire Audit of all such Pub, Hooka Parlours and Farsan Mart/Workshops of Mumbai. Two week back, similar type of fire had occured at Farsan Workshop Sakinaka in which a dozen people had died
Eight fire engines, five water tanker and seven ambulances were dispatched to the spot.
A fire department official said, “The fire spread due to the carpets and wooden floors of some of these places. The fire spread rapidly in the whole building. The satellite antennae of media houses were also destroyed in the incident.”
Doctors at KEM Hospital in Parel said the maximum casualties were on account of suffocation.
“One Above has a very narrow entry, so as soon as the place caught fire, guests started running. In their bid to escape, a few guests went to the washroom, where most of the dead bodies were recovered,” said an officer.
Two brothers Dhairya Lalani (26) and Vishwa Lalani (23), who were on a holiday in Mumbai from the US, also died after venturing back into the Kamala Mill building to locate their aunt. The three were celebrating with several other friends and were at a table near the entrance of the ‘One Above’ restaurant and pub.