One of the worst fires seen in the city was brought under control by Saturday afternoon after more than 228 fire engines and tankers used 22 lakh litres of water from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s water supply.
At 11.40 am on Saturday, after over 36 hours of fire-fighting, the Mumbai Fire brigade declared the fire to be under control but not doused. The blaze broke out at the four-storey City Centre Mall in central Mumbai at 8.53 pm on Thursday.
Four firemen and a deputy fire officer, who were injured in the fire earlier, were treated and discharged from the JJ hospital on Friday evening. Another fireman, 55-year-old Chandrashekhar Tukaram Sawant, was injured on Saturday evening and admitted to the Nair hospital due to suffocation.
“We have contained the blaze and managed to keep it from spreading. However, there are still some isolated flares inside the mall and minor battery explosions. Fire-fighting is still underway,” said a Fire Brigade official on Saturday.
The 3,500 residents of the neighbouring 55-storey Orchid Enclave, who were shifted as a precautionary measure early Friday morning, have not been allowed to return to their flats. The blaze did not spread to the highrise but the spread of smoke cannot be ruled out, fire brigade officials said. The power supply of the building has been switched off.
The mall houses hundreds of small retail and wholesalers mobile and electronic units. According to the Mumbai Fire Brigade, dousing the blaze is taking time due to a large stock of inflammable material inside the shops. Civic officials said the damage can only be assessed after cooling operations, adding that investigations about alterations and irregularities in the mall will start afterwards.
The fire was first reported in a shop on the second floor of the mall, which later spread to the third floor. It was initially categorised as level 1 (minor) but upgraded to level 3 at 10.44 pm on Thursday and an hour later to level 4, which is a serious emergency call and by 2.41 am a level 5, or a brigade call. By then, it had spread to the entire four-storey structure.
Before this, a minor fire in the Raghuvanshi mill compound on June 25 had escalated and was brought under control by the following afternoon. On October 6, a major fire in a commercial building in Masjid Bunder was doused only after 24 hours.
Other brigade calls in the city include a blaze at ‘Gokul Niwas’ in Kalbadevi in June 2015. While battling the fire in the rickety structure in the congested lanes of south Mumbai, four senior fire brigade officials, including the then Chief Fire officer Sunil Nesarikar, had lost their lives.
Another brigade call incident is the fire in Mantralaya in 2012, which claimed the lives of three people and injured 15.
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