The Maharashtra forensic science laboratory (FSL) has sent its findings report to the Marine Drive police in connection with the fire at the Mantralaya building on June 21, stating that no trace of external ‘combustible material’ was found in the samples collected from the site. This effectively quells the sabotage theories doing the rounds about the cause of the fire.
The FSL conducted checks for presence of petrol, kerosene or any other combustible material in the charred remains at Mantralaya to help police investigate if the incident was a case of sabotage.
An FSL official told HT that the report was sent to the Marine Drive police station on Friday. “We have not found any external combustible article like petrol, kerosene or any explosive device from the samples that would point to the fire being caused deliberately,” said the official.
The FSL conducted chemical tests on the samples found between the fourth and seventh floors of Mantralaya that had been the worst-hit in the inferno. The official added, “The majority of samples we had collected were burnt debris from different floors. We tested them for remains of combustible articles by conducting chemical tests.”
The Marine Drive police station will forward the report to the crime branch, which is investigating the cause of the fire. The crime branch will also receive a report from the fire brigade that will confirm if any of the electrical devices or connections had been tampered with, resulting in the fire.
The report states that the cabins on the four floors that withstood the fire were the ones that did not have any ventilation. Explaining this, the official said, “The fire was spreading faster vertically because of the wind. Hence, the cabins that had windows or ventilation, were more vulnerable compared to those that did not have any.”
In addition to ruling out sabotage, the FSL report states that the fire raging on the outer end of the Mantralaya structure was aggravated by a heavy gust of wind blowing from the Arabian Sea nearby.