Kandivli fire: 14th floor flat had many wooden items; cause yet to be ascertained

The fire brigade also found considerable renovations done to the Kandivli house and that the flat had medical machinery operating on electricity
The fire at 15-storey Hansa Heritage in Kandivli broke out around 8.30pm. It was doused after more than three hours. Two people from the 14th floor flat had died in the incident. (HT FILE)
The fire at 15-storey Hansa Heritage in Kandivli broke out around 8.30pm. It was doused after more than three hours. Two people from the 14th floor flat had died in the incident. (HT FILE)
Updated on Nov 08, 2021 08:53 PM IST
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ByEeshanpriya MS, Mumbai

After the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) recorded eyewitness accounts as a part of its probe into the fire that broke out on Saturday at Hansa Heritage in Kandivli (West), it is now examining the possibility behind the blaze. Earlier, there officials suspected that a diya lit in the balcony set a curtain ablaze in a 14th floor flat and spread to the 15th floor.

The fire brigade on Monday came to a conclusion that the blaze spread rapidly throughout the 14th floor flat owing to a large number of wooden furniture and decoration items in the house. The fire brigade also found considerable renovations done to the house and that the flat had medical machinery operating on electricity, as two senior citizens from the family, who lost their lives in the incident, were bedridden. The fire brigade is expected to submit its report in the next few days.

Moreover, as seen in the blaze that occurred at Curry Road’s Avighna Park, the firefighting system at Hansa Heritage, too, did not draw water from the tank and was hence non-operational during the operation.

“The system at the Kandivli high-rise was being supplied water from an overhead tank. Owing to gravity, water was available in the firefighting system only for the first few minutes after the blaze broke out. Once the pressure ran out, the firefighting system did not work and the blaze was doused using MFB’s machinery,” chief fire officer Hemant Parab said.

Parab said, “We learnt that the family had moved in only six months ago. As a part of the renovation, wooden panelling was done and their safety door was also wooden. Moreover, as was the case with the apartment at Avighna Park [where a massive fire had gutted two flats on the 19th floor] there appears to be a false ceiling. Our investigation is ongoing. Now we are looking at other reasons on why the fire could have started.”

As per Parab, an eyewitness recalled seeing the lamp dousing off well before the fire broke out. Five members of the family were rescued from the flat.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued a statement on Monday reiterating that it is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the building to ensure fire safety in its premises and that the fire extinguishing system, equipment and alarm system in all the buildings – especially the tallest ones – are operational, in compliance with the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act, 2006. BMC has warned that action will be taken against buildings if they fail to comply with the norms. The civic body has also warned residents against using flammable material for unnecessary interior decorations work and altering fire protection systems and electrical structures.

“In view of the fire accident on October 22 at One Avighna Park and the loss of life and property caused by it, BMC appeals to all concerned to prevent fire-related accidents under section 3(1) of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act (sic),” BMC said in a statement.

On Monday, BMC reiterated that all occupants or owners of buildings must submit the bi-annual certificate to MFB, following an audit of the firefighting systems of the buildings. The statement said, “Residents living in high-rise buildings should ensure from time to time that fire extinguishers are installed and operational and proper trained manpower are available to handle them. Fire safety drills should also be conducted.”

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022