March 28, 2021 1:18:47 am
THE DREAMS Mall fire, which killed 10 patients being treated for Covid-19 at Sunrise Hospital, located inside the mall, was extinguished on Saturday afternoon. The fire at the mall was doused at 3.29 pm on Saturday, nearly 40 hours after the blaze started.
The Mumbai City Centre mall fire, which occurred in October 2020, was the longest fire fighting operation in recent memory, with the blaze doused after 56 hours of fire fighting.
The fire-fighting operation at Dreams Mall is, however, not over with cooling operations still in progress. A Fire Brigade official said most of the shops at the mall were closed with shutters down, which restricted their access to individual shops to check for isolated flares, even after the fire was brought under control on Friday night.
According to local residents, there were over 1,000 shops in the premises, but most were not operational because of losses incurred during the pandemic. Shopkeepers and retailers from the mall staged a sit-in protest on Saturday morning — when Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar visited the site — demanding compensation for the losses incurred by them.
“I understand why authorities are not allowing us to access our shops, but it is also my livelihood that has been destroyed. If only the Fire Brigade could allow a few of us to access the shops, which have not been damaged by fire. There is no one to keep an eye here… there is the threat of theft as well,” said Sachin Kalankar, who has a financial services unit in the mall.
On Saturday afternoon, a group of 15-20 citizens were seen requesting the fire officials to allow them to access the mall on Saturday afternoon.
The fire audit of Dreams Mall had revealed that it did not have a functional fire safety system and its fire exits were blocked.
“Once the cooling operations are completed and the Fire brigade declares the area safe to enter, we will inspect the mall and also assess the damage,” said a civic official from S-ward. Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal on Friday directed Deputy Municipal Commissioner (DMC) of Disaster Management Prabhat Rahangdale to conduct an inquiry into the fire.
In a letter to Rahangdale, Chahal asked him to conduct an inquiry within 15 days to find the cause of the fire in consultation with the Chief Fire Officer, and fix responsibility of concerned officers regarding illegality in the structure, if any. “The enquiry shall… find out whether there was any lacuna in fire compliances to be maintained, in the fire extinguishers, and any other issues of relevance to prevent such accidents in future,” the letter read.
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