Five people died and 26 were injured after a cylinder blast in a scrap dealer’s shop destroyed part of the 100-year-old Dwarkadas building at Do Taki near Bhendi Bazaar on Thursday.
The blast occurred at 10.40 am when Mohammad Hassan, 22, an employee at the ground-floor shop owned by Mohammad Ghani, 39, and Rihazul Hassan, 49, was emptying a CNG cylinder. A pipe from the cylinder emptied the gas into a water tank. The pipe slipped out and the gas escaped into the air, causing the blast. Shops next door and three rooms above came crashing down in the explosion.
The shop’s owners and the employee have been arrested.
Residents and passers-by thought it was a bomb, triggering panic in the area. “Windowpanes in neighbouring buildings shattered and locals, rather than helping the victims, feared for their own lives,” said Raza Shaikh, a resident. Firemen began rescue operations that lasted six hours. The injured, including four children, were admitted to JJ Hospital.
Those who died have been identified as Mohammad Mansoori, 25, Mohammad Qureshi, 25, Waliullah Mansoori, 35 , Mohammad Mirabaksh, 28, and Ehsanullah Ali, 22.
The cessed building, which falls under Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) jurisdiction, was repaired four years ago. “It had crossed its shelf life, but that did not cause the collapse,” said BP Shirwalkar, executive engineer, Mhada.
The building will be demolished and all families living in it moved to Dharavi Transit Camp.