A MASSIVE fire broke out at Gupta market behind the famous M M Mithaiwala shop outside Malad (West) station at around 7 am on Tuesday. No casualties have been reported, said BMC’s disaster management unit.
While the cause of the fire is yet to be officially ascertained, a Malad Fire Brigade (MFB) official said a short circuit is believed to have led to the blaze.
It took 12 fire tenders four hours and 55 minutes to bring the blaze under control. The narrow and dingy alley between M M Mithaiwala and the Balaji restaurant made it difficult for the firefighters to enter the congested market area, that too amid thick smoke.
The shop where the fire broke out is a one-storey structure located outside the Gupta Market, opposite Malad West station. Even commuters at Malad station faced problems, as smoke entered the station and led to traffic snarls between Malad West station and SV road.
The blaze further spread to various shops in Gupta Market, including those selling stationary, garments and imitation jewellery. Around 20 to 25 shops around M M Mithaiwala were burnt, said officials, adding that it is yet to be ascertained where the fire started.
“The fire was confined to an area of 5,000 to 7,000 metres. The market houses several small shops selling stationeries, items used for offering prayers, garments and imitation jewellery along with the sweet manufacturers’ cooking area. Luckily, it was early morning and the place was not crowded… none of the shops had opened. Hence, there were no casualties. Had the incident occurred later in the day, it would have led to huge loss, as the place is very congested,” said Prabhat Rahangdale, MFB chief fire officer.
Rahangdale added that his team carried out the firefighting operation strategically to ensure that if anybody was stuck, he could be rescued immediately.