THE MUMBAI Fire Brigade’s primary investigation report following Thursday’s fire in Sargam Society building in Chembur that killed five persons has concluded that the blaze started from a short circuit in lights put up to decorate a Christmas tree inside a flat on the 11th floor.
A senior official from the department said, “While inquiring, an eyewitness told us that the fire broke out due to a short circuit in a Christmas tree installed in flat number 1101… nearby curtains caught fire. Upon seeing the fire and smoke, residents of the flat rushed out and left their door open. The fire slowly spread all over the floor and smoke filled the upper floors. While people living in 1101 ran outside the building safely, others on the same floor did not manage to escape.”
The official added that had there been at least a basic fire-fighting system, the fire may have been contained. There was not a single fire extinguisher in the building, officials said.
“Also, the residents did not have basic awareness about how to react in case of a fire. Panic caused the most damage,” an official said.
The Fire brigade will submit its investigation report next week.
Meanwhile, the fire brigade had requested the local BMC ward office to disconnect the water and electricity connections of the building, as the society did not have a no-objection certificate from the fire brigade. The officials found major violations in the 15-storey building, as no firefighting system was available and two refuge areas had been sold to residents, with illegal construction inside these.
Officials said they would send notices to the society for fire safety violations under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act.
“We have already registered an FIR against the builder for major fire safety violations. Now, action will be initiated under the fire Act,” said a fire official.