Four people were killed and 27 others injured in a fire that broke out in a residential building in Central Mumbai on Wednesday morning.
Abdul Razak Ismail Supariwala, the builder, was arrested on Wednesday night, after a case was registered against the developer for allegedly flouting safety norms mandated by the fire department,
The fire broke out on the 12th floor of the Crystal Tower building near Hindmata Cinema around 8.30 am and spread to the 13th, 14th and 15th floors, where most residents found themselves stranded and suffocating.
While 30 people were rescued, 27 were taken to hospitals. Of them, two were declared brought dead. Two others died a few hours later. The others are recuperating in hospital.
Fire brigade personnel said the building’s fire-fighting apparatus was not in working condition. An investigation into the cause of the blaze has been ordered. Although the building is fully occupied, it does not have occupancy certificate, sources said.
“The blaze that started from the 12th floor of the building was declared a Level II fire (in a confined area) around 8.45 am by the first response team of the Mumbai Fire Brigade. The smoke started spreading rapidly and residents were trapped on the building’s staircases. The blaze was declared a Level IV fire (massive blaze) around 10.50 am,” said Mumbai Fire Brigade, Chief Officer, Prabhat Rahangdale. The blaze was put out after a four-hour operation.
Search and rescue operations continued till late.
The case against the developer was registered at Bhoiwada police station under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC along with Section 3(3) of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act 2006
Deputy Commissioner of police N Ambika (zone 4) said, “We have registered a case on the complaint of Vinod Dattaram Mayekar, divisional fire officer.”
Twenty-one people are admitted in KEM Hospital. “They are stable. All have mixed injuries, including asphyxia and burns,” said Dr Avinash Supe, dean, KEM Hospital.
According to fire officials, the blaze was confined to electric wiring in a duct, from the 12th to the 16th floor, in the lift lobby and the common corridor. It affected electrical wiring in all flats on the 12th floor. “Due to tremendous heat, all occupants on the upper floors got trapped. Around 30 stranded people were rescued by firemen. The fire-fighting system of the tower was not in working condition and the electric duct was not sealed on any floor level. The tower has been declared unsafe and non-fire complaint and we have asked authorities to disconnect electricity and water supply,” Rahangdale said.
The Opposition leader in Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, has written to CM Devendra Fadnavis blaming the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for the deaths.
“How were people given possession of the flats when the building had no occupancy certificate? These things are possible due to the nexus between civic officials, contractors and local politicians,” said the letter.