Cooling operations were still on at the City Centre Mall in south Mumbai on Monday after the fire raged for over 40 hours in the commercial structure. The fire that broke out on Thursday night was doused at 5.08 am on Sunday.
A fire brigade official said, “The cooling operation will take time. The mall stored highly inflammable objects like electronic items and batteries in large quantities. If not cooled properly, they can flare up and restart the fire. There are around 400 shops on every floor.”
The blaze that broke out on Thursday night has gutted the second and third floor of the mall, said a civic official. According to the preliminary investigation, the fire brigade found that water sprinklers and fire alarms were installed in the mall. However, it is unclear if the fire-fighting equipment was adequate and functional at the time the fire broke out. Fire officials said an investigation can only commence after they conclude the cooling operation. The Fire Brigade will examine the mall and issue a notice to its owner if any structural irregularities are found.
The civic body will also inspect the premises for irregularities and illegal constructions, if any, in the mall. “Since the fire raged on for two days and has damaged almost the entire mall, we will allow shopkeepers to enter the mall only after assessing its structural stability. We are examining if illegal changes were made. BMC, as well as a structural engineer from the developer’s side, will inspect the mall on Tuesday,” said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, D ward.
Till 2005, the City Centre Mall housed supermarkets and other retail shops. However, later the management converted the premises into smaller shops which were rented to mobile and electronic wholesalers. There was a stay order by the civil court on converting the third-floor area into smaller shops.
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