A major fire gutted more than 60 shops inside South Mumbai’s iconic Crawford Market early on Sunday morning. No casualties have been reported so far and the fire brigade is trying to determine the exact cause of fire.
“The control room received its first alert regarding the fire at 5.19 am. Eleven fire tenders and eight water tankers were pressed into action and it took them about two hours to douse the fire. The fire is believed to have started from the fruit section of the market because of a possible short circuit and continued to spread to the interior of the market,” said a fire official.
A senior fire official said that about 50-60 shops have been completely gutted in the fire and a large amount of peripheral damage has also being caused. Chief Fire Officer PS Rahangdale said that the fire is under control and cooling operations are underway.
“We are yet to ascertain the cause of fire, and our investigation is underway,” Rahangdale said. According to fire officials, shops selling fruits, cosmetics and deodorants have been badly affected.
“The affected shops had a lot of packing material that caught fire. A number of aerosol cans were ignited and resulted in multiple small explosions, which further spread the fire. The structure is really old and mostly wooden. It was hard to reach the fire, we attacked it from all sides before being able to get closer,” said a senior fire official. This is not the first time in recent years that a fire has gutted shops adjoining the heritage market. In 2011 a major fire broke out at Sara Sahara near Crawford market which gutted many shops.
In fact, the fire brigade’s inspection between 2013 and 2014 had pointed out that the restoration work in the market will include repairing electrical ducts as the 145-year old Grade-I heritage structure has no fire safety measures in place.