Illegal canteen led to hospital blaze in Mumbai, says Fire Brigade

MIDC told to check ESIC hospital’s fire compliance after blaze in which 11 people were killed; Mhada must act against Tilak Nagar society developer after fire in which 5 where killed
A fire fighter at work at ESIC hospital in Andheri, Mumbai, after a fire there on December 17, 2018.(HT FILE)
A fire fighter at work at ESIC hospital in Andheri, Mumbai, after a fire there on December 17, 2018.(HT FILE)
Updated on Jan 08, 2019 07:56 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By Eeshanpriya MS, Mumbai

According to investigations conducted by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB), the blaze at Sargam Housing Society in Tilak Nagar, which killed five people, was caused by an electric spark and the Employees State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) Kamgar Hospital, where 11 people died in a fire, had an illegal canteen that was a fire hazard. Both incidents took place in December 2018 and the probe reports were submitted to the chief fire officer on Monday.

Chief fire officer P Rahangdale said, “I received the enquiry report into the fire at Sargam Society, along with the enquiry report into the fire incident at ESIC Kamgar Hospital.” The hospital comes under the purview of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). A fire had broken out in the building on December 17, 2018, in which 11 were killed, including two children.

The MFB report said the hospital had an illegal canteen on the ground floor, which had stored 20 LPG cylinders. “This is highly objectionable from fire risk and life safety point of view,” said the report. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) could not verify if ESIC Kamgar Hospital was fire compliant since the building comes under MIDC’s jurisdiction. The MFB has directed the MIDC fire brigade to take action against the hospital after verifying it had the necessary fire compliance and occupation certificates.

Deputy chief fire officer of the MIDC fire brigade MV Ogale said, “We have not received the fire brigade’s report yet. We will conduct inspections and rely on police investigation to take necessary action against the hospital. Depending on the gravity of irregularities in the hospital building, our action will range from penalty to sealing the building premise.”

In case of Sargam Society, where a fire broke out on December 27, 2018, and claimed five lives, the fire brigade has directed Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) take action against the building’s developer for non-compliance and violation of fire safety norms.

The probe found the fire had been caused by a defective electric circuit. A spark from the electric lighting for a Christmas tree came in contact with combustible material – like curtains or wooden furniture – and led to the blaze. The report concluded that cause of the senior citizens’ death was an LPG cylinder blast triggered by the fire. Additionally, the building had no occupation certificate, its refuge areas had been encroached upon and it had a defunct fire fighting system. The MFB has directed Mhada to take action against the developer for non-compliance and violation of fire safety norms.

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Monday, October 18, 2021