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Mumbai’s Crystal tower residents struggle to piece lives together, after fire

There seems to be no end to struggle for the 58 families of Crystal Towers in Parel. While some were trying to cope with the loss of lives in Wednesday’s fire

india Updated: Aug 23, 2018 23:59 IST
Steffy Thevar and Eeshanpriya MS
Steffy Thevar and Eeshanpriya MS
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai,Crystal Tower,Crystal Tower fire
Crystal tower residents with the fire bridgade at Parel.(HT Photo)

There seems to be no end to struggle for the 58 families of Crystal Towers in Parel. While some were trying to cope with the loss of lives in Wednesday’s fire, others were on Thursday looking for shelters till the time their building was declared fit. One family, the Kapoors, meanwhile, decided to stay put, even though the water and power supply were disconnected.

Through the day, residents were seen leaving with their luggage and essentials to their friends’ or relatives’ homes. Rajinder Kapoor had a different stand. “My wife, son and I will not leave the flat. It is our home. We have been living here since 1995. We will drink bottled water and live in candle light,” said the eighth floor resident, who stayed in the home even on Wednesday night, despite police’s warning.

Other residents claimed the civic body had not sent them any official notice to vacate the building. Kishore Desai, assistant municipal commissioner of F/South ward (Parel), said, “We had sent a notice in 2016 and now the matter is sub-judice. We can’t take any more action.”

The residents had a meeting in the morning where they decided to pool in Rs 10,000 each to repair electrical ducts, clear debris and get electricity connections. However, the chief fire officer made it clear the building was unsafe and that no services would be provided without their certificate. “The residents can’t repair the duct until the fire department gives them a no-objection certificate,” said chief fire officer PS Rahangdale. Unlike the Kapoors, the police restrictions weakened the resolve of others who had been firm on staying back till evening. “We are now living with relatives and probably will be home tomorrow,” said Yvette D’souza, a resident of 10th floor. Meanwhile, the fire brigade will serve a prosecution notice to Crystal Towers for not complying with safety rules.

“We will now inspect the building and list out the irregularities. We know that the internal fire safety system was not working... We need to find out what fire safety measures the builder should have provided, but did not,” said an official from the fire brigade.

The 16-storey residential high-rise in Parel had illegal alterations in the common lift lobby on many floors.

First Published: Aug 23, 2018 23:47 IST