A TODDLER was killed and seven of her family members sustained injuries after a major fire broke out at a slum in Chembur on Sunday afternoon. The deceased was identified as 15-month-old Chandani Jatholiya, who had sustained 60 per cent burns.
The injured include 45-year-old Jagdish Jatholiya, whose condition is critical after suffering 70 to 80 per cent burns, 3-month-old Tanuja Jatholiya, Sakshi Jatholiya (4), Pramod Jatholiya (5), Parvati Jatholiya (23), Prakash Jatholiya (30) and Gita Jatholiya (40), who have all been admitted at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar. Jagdish remains in critical condition, said officials of the disaster management unit of the BMC.
The family owns a footwear making unit in a ground plus three structure, where the fire broke out, in a slum in Thakkar Bappa Colony of Rajiv Gandhi Nagar in Chembur.
According to Fire Brigade officials, they received a fire call at 1 pm on Sunday and the first response team, two fire engines, one jumbo water tanker and an ambulance reached the spot. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained, said Prabhat Rahangdale, chief fire officer, Mumbai Fire Brigade.
Tulsidas Jatholiya, a relative of the victims, said the fire started after the family opened the lid of a chemical container. “We run a shoe making business but I live in another lane. We normally do not use any chemicals while making shoes. This is the first time Jagdish bhai’s family got this PU (Polyurethane) chemical for making chappals — it is used especially in making soles. I heard as soon as they opened the lid, the fire broke out. What led to this, fire from the kitchen or something else we don’t know. None of the eight was able to speak much, so we are clueless,” said Tulsidas.
Thakkar Bappa Colony is known for its wholesale shoe market. As many as 3,000 families there are engaged in shoe making. According to local residents, the colony was originally a refugee camp for Kutchi speaking people who came to Mumbai from Sindh after 1947. They belonged to a caste group that made chappals. But now, many Marwaris from Rajasthan have joined the business and live in this colony. The Jatholiya family also hails from Rajasthan.
The Chembur incident was the second fire-related mishap in Mumbai Sunday afternoon.
A level III (Major) fire was reported at Andheri (East) on Saki Vihar Road. Eight fire engines and five water jets of Mumbai Fire Brigade were pressed into action. The fire was confined to the building’s basement and no casualties were reported.
The building on Saki Vihar Road reportedly belongs to a firm called Net Magic Service Private Limited. The emergency call was made at 12.16 pm, the BMC disaster management unit said.