The Mumbai Fire Brigade’s technical report on the cause of the blaze in the Kamala Mills Compound that was submitted on Friday pointed out irregularities like violation of safety norms and illegal constructions. Questions have now been raised on how the two resto-pubs managed to acquire fire department’s No-Objection Certificates (NOCs).
The report also stated that the fire had started at Mojo’s Bistro and not 1Above, as believed earlier and flying embers from a charcoal sigree, used to serve hookahs, were the main cause of the blaze. A few days after the December 29 fire killed 14 and left more than 50 people injured, it came to light that 1Above had managed to get its fire NOC 10 days before the incident.
The technical probe by the fire brigade has pointed out that the two pubs — Mojo’s Bistro and 1Above — were on the same “continuous structure without any wall but partition sheets”. Neither of the two pubs had a licence to serve hookah or liquor on the rooftop. The investigators have also pointed out that Mojo’s Bistro failed to produce a licence from the Medical Officer of Health (MoH) to run the eatery. “
They couldn’t produce the required permissions/licence by any competent authority. Both the restaurants were found to be openly serving hookah and liquor on the rooftop, violating various sections of the Mumbai Municipal Act,” said a senior fire department official.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta told The Indian Express that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) would investigate the violations and how the two pubs managed to operate, despite the violations. “There are many shocking revelations that have come up in the report and even during our investigation. We are probing who all are involved and appropriate action will be taken against them. We had immediately suspended five officials when we found their involvement in the case. No one will be spared.”
S S Shinde, the divisional fire officer, was one of the five officials to be suspended by the civic chief.
As per rules, an NOC is given against fire safety norms followed and implemented by an establishment. Fire safety norms include unobstructed entrance to and exit from the terrace/ building at all times, use of only inflammable furniture, non-combustible flooring and carpet, no illegal alterations made to the establishment, among other precautionary measures.
According to the report, the investigators have pointed out that hardly any of the guidelines were followed by the