A fortnight after a massive fire broke out at the Big Bazaar outlet in Matunga, a case was filed against the store manager on Wednesday, though not for any lapse that led to the fire but for the water stagnating inside the outlet after fire-fighting operations. The BMC fears it could lead to mosquito breeding.
The blaze erupted at Big Bazaar, which occupies the New Era House, a ground plus one floor building, on Senapati Bapat Marg on April 29 evening. “The store had opened at 5 pm as it was a holiday for polling. When the fire broke out, employees had just come to work. There was a lot of smoke and everyone was evacuated safely,” said Milind Gadankush, senior inspector, Mahim police station.
The fire brigade categorised the blaze as grade 4 after the flames caused an explosion in the air conditioning ducts on the ground floor. The fire was eventually doused late night. But a large amount of water remains inside the outlet, soaking products, at the rear of the store.
A day later, officials from G-North Ward office inspected the store and raised the possibility of mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water. “There is a danger that mosquitoes spreading dengue and malaria could breed there if the place is not attended to. We also found rats inside,” said a BMC official.
Ashok Khairnar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G-North Ward, said notices had been issued to the store on health grounds and to stop operations until clearance is given by the building and factories department of the civic body.
In an FIR filed at Mahim police station on Wednesday, store manager Bhaskar Nair was booked for negligence and acts likely to spread infection and diseases. Future Group, which owns the Big Bazaar brand, did not respond to an email seeking comments.