Tuesday’s fire at a seven-storey building that claimed nine lives here and injured 59 people would have wreaked greater devastation if it had reached the terrace, where more than 2,000 litres of diesel were stored to run generator sets.
This was discovered when a probe team visited the building on Old Airport Road in the eastern part of the city on Wednesday.
The authorities have sealed off Carlton Towers that housed two restaurants and a pub, along with several offices.
The probe team comprising officials from the Bangalore municipal corporation, public works department, chief electrical inspectorate and fire department, is expected to submit a report to the state government by Friday.
Additional Commissioner of Police G.B. Manjunath said, “Cases have been registered against building owners for criminal negligence, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and posing a threat to public safety. The probe report is awaited for further action.”
The probe has initially revealed that lack of safety measures led to the casualties in the fire. “The building had virtually no safety measure in place. The exit routes, the common area and passages allowing safe exits were all blocked,” said Inspector General of Police (Fire and Emergency Services) P.S. Sandhu.
The officials found that the fire-fighting equipment was badly maintained and the air-conditioning vents were blocked, causing smoke to fill inside the building.
Failing to find a way out, seven persons jumped off the building in panic.
One of them died after the fall and the others are in hospital with multiple fractures.
The fire department had issued a no-objection certificate to Carlton Towers after it conformed to the norms of National Building Code 2005 by the fire department in 1999. Since then, no inspection was carried out, said Fire and Emergency Services Department Director B.G. Chengappa.
A Finnish national’s plans for flying back home went up in smoke as the blaze at Carlton Towers saw him losing his passport and wallet.
"I have lost everything. I don't know how I will go back. I have no passport and no money", he told PTI.