A major fire broke out in the Gold Mohur mill complex located on the Dadasaheb Phalke road in Dadar (East) on Wednesday afternoon. Since the mill structure was being dismantled, a limited number of workers were present when the fire broke out and there were no casualties.
The civic body and fire brigade suspect foul play and said that a probe would be conducted to determine if there was any sabotage. There were at least 25 LPG cylinders inside the mill when the incident took place.
“We will investigate the matter as we suspect foul play. A lot these mills are located at prime locations and are coveted by builders,” said Mayor Shraddha Jadhav, who visited the site. The mill is jointly owned by the National Textile Corporation and the Pantaloon group and was being dismantled for redevelopment.
According to civic sources, the fire was made to look like an accident caused by a few workers who were using gas cylinders to cut the iron rods for dismantling the crumbling structure. The intensity of the fire was such that the two-storey structure is now completely damaged. More than 14 fire engines and eight water tankers took more than three hours to douse the fire.
Eyewitnesses said that at the time of the incident, around 50 workers were present inside the mill. A stock clearance sale and a cloth exhibition were being held on the ground floor of the structure.
“I was at home when I heard cylinder blasts and saw smoke coming out of the mill. I rushed to the spot to find the entire mill up in flames,” said Gajdish Waghle, a resident of the adjacent building.
“There was no textile mill activity since last few years. The cause of a fire of such a magnitude is questionable and it raises a lot of questions. We will probe the cause,” said Uday Tatkare, chief fire officer.
He added that the fire spread quickly as the structures were made of wood and coated with tar and had a residue of oil on them.
The Gold Mohur mill was built before Independence and was owned by a private party until it was nationalised in the 1980s. Harshad Kale, Assistant Municipal Commissioner F-south ward, said he has asked the Building Proposal Department to check if the necessary permission to dismantle the structure had been obtained.