Fire at Damu Nagar slum: Survey of damage begins, relief amount to follow

Cause not known yet, fire department to submit preliminary report today.

Written by Arita Sarkar | Mumbai | Published: December 9, 2015 1:33:53 am

A day after nearly 2,000 shanties were reduced to ashes following multiple gas cylinder explosions and a massive fire, 25 teams comprising officials from the collectorate as well as the forest department visited Damu Nagar in Kandivali Tuesday to assess the damage. Following the completion of the survey, possibly by the end of this week, each of the affected families would receive a sum of Rs 3,800, said officials.

While most residents managed to run to safety, the fire claimed two lives, and left 11 persons injured who are recuperating in hospital. According to the fire department, the fire spread rapidly owing to gusty winds and a large number of cylinders in the area. Around 30 cylinders were reported to have burst as the fire engulfed the entire stretch covering approximately 6,400 square metres of forest department land.

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Though the collectorate was given a deadline of 10 days to complete the survey and count every family, Mumbai Suburban Collector Shekhar Channe said he was optimistic of completing it within a day or two. “We want the families to get the relief amount as soon as possible. More than 20 teams went out early morning and we will try to cover all the families by the end of the day. If not, it will be done by Wednesday, soon after which the families will get the relief amount of Rs 3,800,” said Channe. He added that the details of the survey would be helpful in assessing the extent of the damage people suffered and also give an idea for the relief to be provided by the government.

Each of the 25 teams comprised two members from the collectorate, one official from the forest department and one police constable. The officials moved from one family to the other documenting the total number of members, their family income, the value of clothes, utensils, jewellery and other items lost.

Meanwhile, residents of neighbouring housing societies continued to pitch in with help in the form of clothes, food and utensils for the affected families. While the civic body will provide for night shelters for another two to three days, the various residents’ groups will continue to supply food for at least another week.
Whispering Palms, one of the housing societies nearby, will accommodate about seven families within their premises until they are able to find an alternate accommodation. “There are at least seven housekeeping staff in our building who lived in the slum. We have arranged for accommodation for their families in our society for 2-3 weeks until a transit camp is set up for them or they are able to find another place. Until then, we will be providing them basic essentials and meals three times a day,” said Vilas Kanwal, a resident of the society.

Meanwhile, the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Deputy Chief Fire Officer K V Hirwale said, “A team went to the site and conducted investigation. A preliminary report will be submitted on Wednesday.”

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