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Blaze in Mumbai’s Bandra slum was set deliberately, says fire brigade report

Fire department’s report says fuel was deliberately spread to set debris on fire

mumbai Updated: Nov 17, 2017 14:45 IST
Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Geetanjali Gurlhosur
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bandra fire,Demolition drive
Seventy four hutments and two shops with tailoring material, clothes and stocks of goods were destroyed(HT FILE)

The Garib Nagar fire, which burned down 76 hutments and resulted in property loss of around Rs10 lakh, is suspected to have been caused deliberately, said a fire brigade report that came out this week.

Data from the fire department revealed that fuel (probably kerosene) was deliberately spread to set fire to the demolished debris. The Mumbai Fire Brigade prepares fire and damage reports mentioning the details of fire incidents and their exact causes based on observations, evidence and statements from eye-witnesses.

The report on the fire, which started during a demolition drive in a Bandra East slum on October 26, stated, “Based on circumstantial evidences and statements of eye-witnesses, suspected arson is the supposed cause.” The fire was initially observed at two places in the affected 40,000 -sq-feet slum along the railway at about 2.35 pm. This intensified as LPG cylinders exploded in the vicinity.

Seventy-four hutments and two shops with tailoring material, clothes and stocks of goods were destroyed. The fire spread to adjoining hutments and burnt down houses that were not to be demolished, said locals.

The fire report also identifies problems faced by firemen and recommendations to authorities concerned. According to the report, slum dwellers hindered the firefighting by pressurising the crew to divert the water and snatching water lines.

The report recommends that the municipal corporation check trade activities in slums for authenticity and maintain 6-m-wide access through Behrampada cluster.

“The report shall be updated with findings from police investigation,” said chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. The police investigating the matter said Sabir Khan, a local, was arrested for arson on October 29. They are looking for more accused.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered the demolition of around 2,000 shanties in Bandra (E) by October 31 for a cycling and jogging track along Tansa pipeline. Of these, around 325 were in Garib Nagar.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 00:18 IST