Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire Live: At least 14 killed, FIR filed on causing death due to negligence, 5 BMC officials suspended
At least 14 people were killed and several others injured when a major fire broke out at a building in the Kamala Mills Compound in Mumbai’s Lower Parel late on Thursday night. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind offered their condolences. (Photos)
The fire started around 12.30am in the building on Senapati Bapat Marg, a commercial hub, police said. By 2.45am, the fire brigade had managed to bring the fire under control. Police have charged three people over the fire. (Timeline of other fires)
Here are the live updates:
3.10pm: Five BMC officials have been suspended and an assistant commissioner transferred.
2.01pm: “I have sent letters to 11 ward offices related to such rooftop restaurants. The BMC does not give priority to such cases,” says Congress leader Nitesh Narayan Rane.
2.01pm: Congress leader Nitesh Narayan Rane, who visited the Kamala Mills Compound, criticises BMC over the fire.
1.58pm: “Each time I see a fire taking place and people dying, it angers me a lot and I feel I have miserably failed in my endeavour to stop such fire incidents. I would blame the judiciary and the government for this,” says Neelam Krishnamoorthy, president of the association of victims of the Uphaar tragedy.
1.55pm: “This is not legal. They (One Above) even put bamboo charts and tarpouline sheets to make this balcony space habitable. This is flammable material that increased the fire,” says Prashant Sapkale.
1.54pm: Prashant Sapkale, BMC assistant commissioner of G South, says One Above was allowed one-third construction space and two-thirds balcony space, but it used up its balcony space as well.
1.50pm: “In July, a notice was served for illegal usage of space without BMC’s permission. In August, demolition happened as we have already reported. In September, seizure action happened, to curb use of this space,” says Prashant Sapkale, BMC assistant commissioner of G South.
1.45pm: Prashant Sapkale, BMC assistant commissioner of G South, says BMC prosecuted One Above three times -- in July, August, and September.
12.50pm: In August this year, BMC had taken action against two restaurants - Mojo and One Above - for illegal construction. It had demolished part of an extension/parapet of terrace common to both restaurants.
12.48pm: Rajya Sabha member and former Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan says, “I have been to Kamala Mills, it is like a bhool bhulaiaya, has narrow lanes. So obviously there has been negligence.”
12.45pm: BJP’s Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar inspects the affected areas, says, “We noticed that there was no accessible exit. Investigation needed into the restaurants.”
12.40pm: Dr Harish Pathak, head of the forensic department at KEM Hospital says almost all the 14 people died due to asphyxiation, none of them died due to the flames but due to fumes. “A proper evacuation plan could have avoided this,” he says.
12.20pm: Mumbai MPs discuss Kamala Mills fire incident in the Lok Sabha. Shiv Sena’s Mumbai South MP Arvind Sawant demands judicial probe into the fire incident while Mumbai North-East MP Kirit Somaiya wants thorough audit of such mills.
12.04pm: BMC mayor Vishvanath Mahadeshwar says an inquiry has been ordered, a report will be sought to see who is responsible and action will be taken.
12.03pm: “BMC officials are responsible for the murder of people in Kamala Mills fire, second such incident in two weeks, when will the BMC wake up?” says Kirit Somaiya.
12.02pm: Kirit Somaiya, BJP Lok Sabha member from Mumbai, blames BMC for fire.
12 noon: “It is a very unfortunate incident, state government and BMC will surely inquire into the incident and strict action will be taken against guilty,” says Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir.
11.56am: “It is an unfortunate incident that claimed many lives. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. An immediate probe should be conducted and those responsible for the fire should be punished,” says Rahul Gandhi.
11.55am: Congress president Rahul Gandhi offers condolences in a tweet in Marathi.
11.33am: “Fantastic. BMC Commissioner will conduct the inquiry. Against himself? Has he suspended the Dy Cmmsnr of that area yet? No chance! Entire blame is on BMC officers. They are the ones who take bribes and give permissions,” tweets AAP national executive member Preeti Sharma Menon.
11.32am: Aam Aadmi Party blames BMC for fire incidents in Mumbai. “Most places in Mumbai area (are) fire traps due to the shameless corruption in the BMC,” says AAP national executive member Preeti Sharma Menon.
11.28am: Sharad Jadhav, a 33-year-old working as producer for a TV channel who was on night duty, says he got to know about the fire around 10 minutes after the blaze started. “We tried to run out of the building but could not because debris had fallen outside the main door. We came out through the fire exit and saw the entire rooftop structure on fire.”
11.25am: Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir speaks to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and inquires about the Kamala Mills fire.
11.22am: Mangesh Kalaskar, an activist from Mumbai, says he filed several complaints regarding illegal structures in the Kamala Mills premises, but the BMC replied that there was nothing wrong there.
11.20am: Several fire incidents have been reported in Mumbai this year. Twelve migrant labourers were killed after a major fire broke out at an illegal snack-making unit at Sakinaka in Andheri (East). Here is a timeline of such incidents.
10.55am: “Even the slightest of unauthorised construction will be demolished. BMC is including fire brigade officials in this team, so that inspection is done from fire safety point of view,” says assistant commissioner Prashant Sapkale.
10.50am: Prashant Sapkale, assistant commissioner of the G South ward, under which Kamala Mills falls, says the BMC will inspect all restaurants in the Kamla Mills compound, and all restaurants in other nearby mill compounds starting Friday.
10.45am: Piyush Goyal, Union minister of railways and coal, condoles deaths, says “My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families in the Kamala Mills fire. Hoping for rapid recovery of the injured.”
10.40am: CM Devendra Fadnavis says BMC Commissioner visited Kamala Mills “in the midnight itself and has taken stock of the situation. Asked him to take strong action against erring officials immediately”.
10.32am: “Disturbing to know about the loss of lives in unfortunate #KamalaMills fire incident in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the families who lost their loved ones and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth enquiry,” tweets CM Devendra Fadnavis.
10.30am: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis condoles deaths, says he has asked officials to conduct an in-depth enquiry.
10.30am: Police said the fire exit door was blocked, which caused delay in evacuation that led to the deaths.
10.22am: Police said they observed that the restaurant owners had not followed any safety norms and did not have any fire extinguishing equipment.
10.20am: Police have registered a case of death due to negligence under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and other sections include endangering life of others, causing hurt and common intention.
10.15am: “There was no time window for escape between when the fire started and when the fire brigade arrived, as the fire spread quickly,” says deputy chief fire officer.
10.12am: “There were burn injuries but most people got trapped after the makeshift furniture fell on them, and they did not have time to leave,” says deputy chief fire officer.
10.10am: R Chaudhari, deputy chief fire officer, says the fire brigade did not find any charred bodies.
10.02am: Sources say a lot of combustible material like bamboo, tarpouline and hay-covered roofs, were used on the terrace for decoration.
10.00am: Fire department sources say fire-fighting systems were not in place in the building. They say it is likely there was no fire exit in the building.
9.58am: Post-mortem examinations of all bodies have been completed, and the bodies are being handed over to their relatives, says KEM dean.
9.55am: KEM Hospital dean says they also received 12 patients with superficial minor burns. All have gone home or to other hospitals, and their condition is stable, he says.
9.50am: KEM Hospital dean Dr Avinash Supe confirms they received 14 bodies.
9.45am: A senior civic official from the disaster management department says the fire - that broke out on the fourth floor - was brought under control at 6.30am.
9.40am: Fire department officials and police continue operations.
9.36am: “Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” tweets PM Modi.
9.35am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers condolences over Mumbai fire.
9.32am: “Disturbing news about the fire in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families and wishing the injured an early recovery. Commend the valiant efforts of fire-fighters and those in rescue ops,” tweets President Kovind
9.30am: President Ram Nath Kovind condoles deaths in Mumbai fire.