Gulmohar, a ground-plus-three building at 14th lane, Kamathipura, collapsed around 2pm on Saturday, killing six people and injuring two others. The 100-year-old building had been undergoing repairs for over a month. Ten fire tenders and a rescue van were sent to the spot, and nearly 60 firemen and other fire officials were involved in rescue operations.
As the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) had been carrying out structural repairs on Gulmohar, which had been sublet by residents, mainly to zari workshops, it was empty of people when it collapsed. However, it had not been declared dilapidated by MHADA. It is suspected that those killed and injured were construction workers. However, there was no confirmation of this at the time of going to press. Besides zari workshops, the building housed a beer bar on the ground floor.
Eight injured people were taken to JJ Hospital and Nair Hospital. Three of the five taken to JJ and two of the three taken to Nair were declared dead on arrival. A fourth person died while being treated at JJ Hospital. “He had severe trauma. We could not save him,” said a doctor in the casualty department. The dead include a 14-year-old boy, identified as Wasimulla Khan, Jabaz Mullah (30), Sarfula Mullah (38) and Angad Chaubey (45). The two who were declared dead at Nair Hospital had not been identified at the time of going to press. Two others, Canolin Mullah (26) and Mohammed Shikri (50), suffered serious head injuries.
The rescue operation ended around 6pm. Fire officials said they faced major difficulties in the rescue as one side of RS Nimkar Road, on which the building stood, had been dug up for repairs, leaving rescuers with little room from which to operate. Their difficulties were compounded by the fact that there were visible cracks in a neighbouring building too.
Chief fire officer PS Rahangdale said, “We had to be very careful while carrying out rescue operations as a neighbouring building had major cracks. We immediately evacuated the residents of this building for their safety. The rescue operations are now complete.” The residents of the neighbouring building will be shifted to a transit camp.