Fire at Kothari Mansion; four injured in slab collapse at Prabhadevi

According to officials of Mumbai Fire Brigade, a serious tragedy was averted as a group of firemen had moved to a safe distance just before the slab collapsed on the two fire tenders they had been standing on.

| Mumbai | Published: June 10, 2018 2:34:30 am
Fire fighters at the Kothari Mansion on Saturday. (Express Photo by Karma Sonam Bhutia) 

A fire broke out in the British-era ground plus four structure, Kothari Mansion Fort (popularly known as the Light Of Asia restaurant), around 4.20 am on Saturday. No casualty was reported. At Prabhadevi, four people were injured after part of a slab from the third floor of a four-storey building collapsed on Friday night. The 80-year-old Kothari Mansion was vacant at the time of the incident and a portion of it (on the south side) collapsed during fire fighting operation. According to officials of Mumbai Fire Brigade, a serious tragedy was averted as a group of firemen had moved to a safe distance just before the slab collapsed on the two fire tenders they had been standing on.

It was a C-1 (extremely dilapidated/dangerous) Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) cessed building. The housing regulatory body had vacated the premises two years ago. Such buildings need to be vacated and demolished for reconstruction. “There is no clarity on why MHADA failed to demolish the dangerous structure in the past two years, putting lives of thousands of pedestrians in danger. Many passersby and hawkers use the gap between the pillars of the building’s ground floor as a temporary footpath. The MHADA, it seems, had put the onus of getting the building demolished on the owners (NoC holders), Nagraj Jain and others. The building had wooden propping on all floors leading to the fire spreading rapidly across all floors,” said a senior BMC official.

While no casualty was reported, two firemen on the Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) sustained minor injuries and were taken to a hospital. The injured have been identified as Suhas Manik Mane and Sudhir Bhikaji Deolekar, firemen from Nariman Point. They were taken to B Y L Nair hospital. Fire officials said no one was trapped in the building. The Mumbai Fire Brigade deployed 16 fire engines at the spot. The blaze came under control after four hours. Till late in the evening, the fire was yet to be put out.

“One fire engine and a Aerial Ladder Platform were extensively damaged after debris fell on both vehicles due to the slab collapse. Both Mane and Deolekar were stuck in the cabin of the Aerial Ladder Platform, which was in operation to control the fire. They were rescued by using another ladder,” said Prabhat Rahangdale, the chief fire officer, Mumbai Fire brigade.

“Timely order and flashing of SOS to carry out fire fighting operation from a safe distance and a decision to withdraw water jets operating near the building, just a few minutes before the collapse averted a major disaster and loss of lives,” he added.

At Prabhadevi, four people were injured after part of a slab from the third floor of a four-storey building collapsed on Friday night. They sustained minor injuries and were discharged from hospital on Saturday morning, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s disaster management unit said. The building, Mulji House, is located on Veer Savarkar Marg at Prabhadevi. “No body was trapped. The four people who were rescued escaped with minor injuries,” said a senior official from the Mumbai Fire Brigade.

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