February 6, 2021 7:47:55 am
A MASSIVE fire broke out at a scrapyard in Mumbai’s Mankhurd area in the eastern suburbs, on Friday afternoon. By evening, heavy smoke had engulfed the area, as the Mumbai Fire Brigade struggled to control the blaze. A fire station officer was injured in the incident.
The fire broke out at around 2:45 pm in the scrapyard towards the creek and mangrove areas in Mandala, off the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road. The area has a scrapyard spread over one acre of land and housing over 1,000 godowns. The godowns, most of them unauthorised, store inflammable material and scrap such as oil, chemicals over the prescribed limit. The yard, known as Kurla yard, is leased out by the state government for the scrapyard, metal and paper mart.
Forty-year-old fire station officer Harish Nadkar was injured during firefighting. The disaster management cell of the civic body said, “Station officer was in stable condition and was admitted in Govandi’s Shatabdi hospital.”
Thirteen fire engines, three fire tenders, 11 jumbo water tankers, and two ambulances were stationed at the site. BMC is using three water filling sites — Chheda Nagar, Deonar abattoir and Ghatkopar yard. “Due to the presence of the high amount of inflammable scrap stored in the congested area, the flames and the smoke are massive. There is unknown quantity of oil and chemicals stored in the scrapyard, resulting in thick plumes of smoke and massive flames,” said a fire brigade official.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar along with the local corporator visited the site. “I have been informed about the illegal units in the area. On many occasions, Collector, with assistance from BMC, has taken action. However, these units return to the site. This fire is result of the massive unauthorised storage of inflammable material.”
According to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (Section 394), the owners have to obtain a trade and storage licence for using the structure as a godown. It needs to be checked if the godowns are storing combustible material and if it is within the prescribed quantity. If the quantity of the stored combustible material exceeds the limit, the owners will be taken to court. However, no action has been taken against the illegal godowns in Mankhurd.
This is not the first time a massive fire broke out in the Mandala scrapyard. Last year, in June, level three fire was reported from the area. A major fire in 2018 had gutted nearly 100 commercial structures, as 120 firemen controlled the blaze. Samiksha Sakre, Sena corporator from Mankhurd, said, “In last four years, on an average, there have been two massive fires every year, in the Mandala area. Oils and chemicals are illegally stored in the area. There have been repeated complaints to the tehsil officer, but no action has been taken.”
As the slum structures are close to the scrapyard, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), as a precautionary measure began the evacuation of the residents from the nearby slums, to the Shivaji Nagar Municipal School. Around 100 residents were asked to evacuate.
Massive traffic congestion was reported in Chembur, Ghatkopar and Eastern freeway, as the roads leading to Mankhurd were blocked. All bus routes plying from Chedda Nagar/Shivaji Nagar towards Mankhurd/Vashi were diverted via Amar Mahal, Chembur Naka, VN Purav Marg to Maharashtra Nagar, said BEST.
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