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Sakinaka fire: Two killed, one missing

By Mehul R Thakkar
PUBLISHED ON DEC 29, 2019 12:25 AM IST

Two labourers were found dead and one was reported missing on Saturday in the major fire that broke out at Ashapura compound, an industrial estate at Khairani Road in Sakinaka, on Friday evening. The search and rescue operations for the man is still on.

The fire broke out at 30-35 godowns in a three-storey building inside the industrial estate, where various chemicals were stored, at 5.15pm. Several garment and plastic factories, too, were operating around the spot.

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said, “We have asked the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) to investigate the cause of fire. The police are conducting a probe. Prima facie, it looks like chemicals were stored illegally at the spot, but we will also check if the owners had the required permissions.”

The fire was brought under control by Saturday morning, but the cooling operations were on at the time of going to press.

The deceased were identified as Arti Jaiswal, 25, and Piyush Pithadia, 42. A medical officer from Rajawadi Hospital said, “We have handed over the bodies to the victims’ families. We have taken skin samples to ascertain whether the fire was due to chemical burning.”

“We are using a JCB to demolish the structure,” said a fire official.

The fire reached level 4 (major) at 6:20 pm on Friday, after which the MFB rushed nine fire engines, seven jumbo tankers, one ambulance and a quick response vehicle to the spot. The MFB also sought help from the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited. “There are timber yards around the godowns. They did not catch fire as there was open space in between. If the fire had spread to the yards, the impact would have been huge,” said the official. Manish Valnaju, assistant municipal commissioner, L Ward, which covers Kurla and its surroundings, including Asalpha and Sakinaka, said. “We are trying to check how many structures are affected. We will also probe the nature of the trade that was being carried out. A proper inquiry will be conducted to check for violations or negligence.”

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