Three died and 11 others were injured in a house collapse incident at Mankhurd on Thursday morning. The incident occurred around 6am when the one-plus-one structure collapsed on two adjacent houses after a cylinder blast, at the Saibaba Rahivashi Sangh in the Maharashtra Nagar slums of Mankhurd.
The deceased have been identified as Kasturba Wankhede, 60, Rekha Sanjay Wankhede, 30, and Sanjay Wankhede,35. The fire brigade rushed three fire engines and one ambulance to the spot.
After a preliminary inquiry, fire officials suspect gas leak in the ground floor house to be the cause of fire. A fire official said, “There would have been a blast when one of the members of the Wankhede family lit the gas stove. The impact of the explosion led to the collapse of the wall of the room on two adjacent ones, injuring many.”
Three families — the Wankhede, Pawar and Gavde — were affected. The injured also include four children, officials said. While eight of the injured have been admitted to the civic-run Sion hospital, two are in Shatabdi and one person was discharged in the afternoon.
By afternoon, a truck-load of debris was being cleared from the spot. Fire officials said that there will be a complete inquiry on the incident.
An eye-witness said, “We heard the explosion in the morning, but it took us a long time to understand what had happened. There was smoke all around the area. We could start rescuing people only after the smoke reduced.”
Located in narrow lanes, the Maharashtra Nagar slums is one of the many in the eastern Deonar-Govandi-Mankhurd belt. The slums are located just a kilometer away from the Mankhurd fire command and control centre, which is just partly operational.
Recent incidents of building collapse
In December 2016, the JK Somani building in Fort was engulfed in flames owing to cylinder blasts. The central part of the building had also partially collapsed and cracks developed on the facade. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the incident
In October 2016, six children died and five other were injured after a four-storey illegal structure collapsed in Bandra’s Behrampada slums
In September 2016, one person lost his life and 15 others were injured after a wall collapse in the hilly areas of T ward (Mulund)
In July 2016, nine members of a family were killed after a fire broke out in a shop beneath their house in Andheri and the escape route was blocked.
Cops probe cause of fire
The Trombay police are investigating the cause of the fire and if possible negligence in connection with the wall collapse in Mankhurd on Thursday morning that claimed three lives.
According to police sources, a gas leak started the fire in the room of Umesh Gadve, 40, who is employed as a BEST driver. Neighbours at Saibaba society in Maharashtra Nagar in Mankhurd, where the incident took place, said that they smelled gas during the early hours of the day and there was an explosion later.
It was believed that the Gadves had not switched off the knob of the gas regulator before going to bed on Wednesday night. Not realising that there had been a leak, Umesh, who woke up first, ignited the sigree, which could have sparked a fire that engulfed the entire room.
Subsequently, the room collapsed on two neighbouring rooms.
“The cylinder was intact but there was an explosion. We are awaiting the fire brigade reports that will ascertain the cause of fire, following which further action will be taken,” said Annasaheb Sonur, senior police inspector, Trombay police station.
Police said that there were many possibilities of a gas leak.
“Rats could have nibbled at the regulator tube that may have resulted in the leak. As the room was poorly ventilated, there was sudden fire. As of now, it doesn’t appear that there was any malafide intention of anyone but we are investigating,” said Sonur.
The police have registered a case of accidental death in this regard to this. The injured are being treated and the police will record their statement to ascertain the exact sequence of events.