Mumbai Kamala Mills fire highlights: A day after tragedy, encroachments at 314 restaurants and pubs demolished

Kamala Mills is one of the commercial hubs of the financial capital and houses numerous eateries, restaurants, commercial outlets and prominent national media organisations. 

| New Delhi | Updated: December 30, 2017 8:12:50 pm
A bulldozer takes down one of the eateries in the Kamala Mills compound. (Express Photo)

Atleast 14 people including 11 women died and 54 others were injured in a midnight blaze in a pub in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills in the early hours of Friday.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry into the incident, while five municipal officials were suspended as it emerged that the restaurant-pub One Above at the Trade House Building in the tony Kamala Mills Compound had been served notices in the past by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for alleged violations and even prosecuted for unauthorised construction and alterations. The Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-South Ward was transferred for lapses and negligence in allowing the eateries to operate there.

The One Above pub which was charred in the fire had been a continuous flounder. Kamala Mills is one of the commercial hubs of the financial capital and houses numerous eateries, restaurants, commercial outlets and prominent national media organisations.

Here are the highlights of the day: 

7.41 pm: A day after Kamala Mills blaze, which killed 14 people, BMC demolished illegal encroachments at 314 restaurants and pubs across the city. Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) violation Act notices were served to many eateries and at least 4 restaurants were sealed and 417 gas cylinders were seized.

7.00 pm: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demolition drive at Kamala Mills and Raghuvanshi Mills ends, will resume on Sunday.

6.50 pm: Civic officials in Mumbai demolished illegal structures in at least 314 restaurants and pubs. As many as 1,000 officials and employees of the civic body took part in the exercise. “The unauthorised hotels and restaurants, not only in central Mumbai, but also those located in the distant suburbs, such as Malad and Mulund, are facing action,” BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde said.

6.45 pm: Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam on Saturday demanded the suspension of BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and also sought a CBI or judicial probe into the incident. “The commissioner is guilty of overlooking illegalities and violation of rules. How can he probe his own sins. He should be suspended,” Nirupam said. “If Fadnavis is sincere and has some feelings for the deceased, he should conduct a comprehensive inquiry into how permissions were given to eateries, restaurants and pubs on mill lands without ascertaining if they are complying with safety rules,”he said.

Mumbai Kamala Mills Fire Facade of Zoom’s office being taken down. (Express photo)

5.45 pm: Front reception and entrance of restaurant One Above and Mojo’s were demolished by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in its drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills area

5.30 pm: L ward assistant commissioner said action against five hotels and Sakinaka Mumbai metro station were taken on Saturday. Upper floors of Oozo bar and diner, Peninsula hotel, and Hotel Choice Lee were sealed.

4.25 pm: Police registers second FIR in Kamala Mills fire incident. The FIR is based on BMC’s complaint for several violations by Kamla Mills owners and others for Maharashtra Regional Town Planning violation

4.10 pm: BMC has lodged a complaint against Mojo Bistro pub and One Above restaurant under Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) violation Act at NM Joshi Marg police station

3.45 pm: The Shiv Sena, which is at the helm of affairs in the BMC, in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ lamented the “lethargic attitude” of administrations across the world towards the issue of fire safety, and mentioned the incidents of blaze at Mecca and London. The party admitted that incidents of fire in Mumbai have gone up in the last two years.

3.40 pm: A BMC official confirmed they have pulled down illegal roofs of two restaurants – ‘Skyview Cafe’ and ‘Social’ in Kamala Mills and encroachments of ‘Pranay’, ‘Fumes’ and ‘Sheesha Sky Lounge’ at Raghuvanshi Mills in the same locality.

3.15 pm: Following the Mumbai tragedy, DCP of New Delhi BK Singh has urged eateries and restaurants in the national capital to be extra cautious. “We expect a large number of people will be visiting eateries & pubs on 31st Dec. Keeping in view what happened in Mumbai, we have to be extra cautious. We are intimating all outlets to take extra precautions,” said BK Singh.

2.55 pm: Police bans use, sale and storage of flying lanterns in the city till 22nd January, 2018 citing ‘it may cause grave danger to human life, safety & injury to public property’.

2.50 pm: Preliminary probe by Mumbai Police reveals victims were those dining at One Above and not of Mojo Bristo.

2.45 pm: Probe by Mumbai Police finds that short circuit lead to the fire. Survivors corroborate the version.

2.40 pm: FIR states staff of One Above fled after the fire broke out. Didn’t rescue stranded patrons.

2.30 pm: Mumbai police have issued lookout notices against co-owners of ‘One Above’ pub, Hitesh Sanghvi and Jigar Sanghvi. On Friday, the police had booked the Sanghvi brothers, another co-owner Abhijeet Manka and others, under IPC sections dealing with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others and causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others.

02:15 pm: Due to poor emergency escape routes, while others found their way blocked by fire and suffocating smoke. Many panicked patrons took shelter in a toilet, where they were asphyxiated to death in the Kamala Mills fire.

02:03 pm: BMC bulldozers razed down eateries and restaurants today, which were found violating the norms. The development comes in the wake of the massive fire in the compounds of Kamala Mills.

A bulldozer takes down one of the eateries in the Kamala Mills compound. (Express Photo)

02:00 pm: All offices of Delhi Fire Service have been asked to carry out inspection/visit at restaurants in their respective area, especially in crowded places: GC Mishra, Chief Fire Officer.

01:50 pm: There were at least 11 major fires in Mumbai this year, of which the second-last one on December 25 killed 12 workers in a Gujarati snack or farsan-making shop in Saki Naka.

01:35 pm: “We are probing if the flames created during a fire stunt by a bartender at the pub came in contact with plastic sheets that covered the bamboo structure and triggered the blaze. We are also trying to find out whether the burning coal used for hookah at the adjacent restaurant led to the tragedy,” a fire official says over the cause of fire.

01:18 pm: Numerous restaurants, eateries and establishments are now facing the brunt of the BMC for apparent violations of norms after 14 people lost their lives in the Kamala Mills fire incident.

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01:06 pm: In the wake of Kamala Mills fire incident in Mumbai, alarms have been raised in Delhi as well. Fire safety norms in the national capital are also being questioned. “Won’t comment on the number of eateries, there may be over 5,000 but in National Building Code only buildings w/50+ seats are under legal obligation to get NOC from the fire brigade. We have referred different cases out of which we gave fire safety certificates to 400 eateries,” Chief Fire Officer.

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12:55 pm: The demolition drive is a result of strict orders from the Chief Minister about an inquiry into the Kamala Mills fire tragedy.

12:36 pm: “We have already formed several teams and are collecting information about the hotels and restaurants, after getting complaints of unauthorised constructions by them. Several ward officers are also carrying out inspection and razing such illegal structures,” says BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde

12:34 pm: According to PTI, BMC official confirmed that they have pulled down “illegal roofs” of two restaurants—’Skyview Café’ and ‘Social’ in Kamala Mills and encroachments of ‘Pranay’ and ‘Fumes’ and ‘Sheesha Sky Lounge’ at Raghuvanshi Mills in the same locality.

12:17 pm:  The Shiv Sena, which is at the helm of affairs in the BMC, in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ lamented today the lethargic attitude of the administrations across the world towards issues of fire safety, it cited the examples of fire incidents at Mecca, London.

12:10 pm: Officials have now sprung into action, as pressure mounts on BMC to take action against irregularities and flouting of norms by businesses in the city. The demolition drive is underway in the city.

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11:50 am: The police has detained two accused in the case, while one remains at large in the Kamala Mills fire incident.

11:30 am: The Mumbai Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 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), reports PTI.

11:10 am: BMC carries out demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills compound in the wake of Thursday’s fire incident which claimed 14 lives.

Mumbai Kamala Mills fire LIVE UPDATES: BMC carries out demolition drive against illegal structures BMC carries out demolition drive against illegal structures in Kamala Mills area of Mumbai (ANI Twitter)

10:15 am: A lookout notice has been issued against all the accused in the Kamala Mills fire incident.

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8:17 am: The municipal corporation must be held to account. Criminal neglect must not be allowed to lead to another Kamala Mills, writes Kiran Nagarkar.

8:12 am: Political blame game began hours after the Kamala Mills tragedy, as BJP and Shiv Sena MPs exchanged garbs in the Parliament. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is ruled by the Shiv Sena, while BJP is the ruling party in the state government.

8:08 am: Here are some pictures from the lens of the Indian Express photographers capturing the sorrow of the tragedy and the bravery of the first responders left in the aftermath of the Kamala Mills Fire.

8:03 am: Khushbu Bhansali, from Sanchore village in Rajasthan, was bringing in her birthday with cousins and friends when the fire broke out in the 1Above pub and restaurant. Hours after they retrieved the bodies of Khushbu and her relative Kinjal from the washroom of the eatery. Read Here

7:58 am: Records of the civic body show that 1Above was issued a licence on December 19, 2016, in the name of licensee Kripesh Sanghavi. The licence was to expire on December 17. But it was renewed by the civic body and is now valid up to December 18, 2018.

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