12 dead, 1 injured after Mumbai shop catches fire, collapses
Blaze, collapse of snack-making unit kill migrant workers asleep inside the structure at Sakinaka in Andherimumbai Updated: Dec 19, 2017 11:10 IST
Fire tore through a sweet shop in the Indian city of Mumbai before dawn Monday, sparking a building collapse which killed 12 sleeping workers, authorities said. Four others were injured but some saved their lives by scrambling out seconds before the collapse. (Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo)
Twelve workers were killed and one injured after a major fire broke out at an illegal snack-making unit at Sakinaka in Andheri (East) at 4.15 am on Monday, causing the structure to collapse minutes later.
At 4.17 am, three fire engines, four jumbo water tankers and an ambulance were sent to the shop on Khairani Road at Makhariya Compound. They pulled out the victims, who were unable to escape after the shop’s glass door jammed, from under the rubble between 8.15 am and 9.30 am — nearly four hours later.
“A large quantity of eatables, three large diesel stoves and LPG gas cylinders were stocked inside the shop. This led to massive amounts of smoke after the fire,” said fire brigade official, who did not wish to be identified.
Fire brigade officials said the unit doubled up as living quarters for 20 migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Nepal.
When the blaze began, seven workers ran out immediately, while 20 -year-old Akhilesh Tiwari escaped by jumping from the loft window, 20 feet above the ground. He fractured both legs and was admitted to Rajawadi Hospital’s trauma ward.
A family of three living in a room on the 30x80-square-foot ground floor survived unhurt. “I was at work when the fire broke out. My brother and mother fled as soon as they heard the commotion,” said Tejas Pawar.
Locals said the commercial unit being run from the structure was set up a year-and-a-half ago. Officials, however, said it was illegal.
“The civic body had not received an application requesting permission to operate a shop of small-scale factory here,” said Ajitkumar Ambi, assistant municipal commissioner, L ward. Civic officials added that the area had been a declared a slum and protected under the Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971.
This is fifth building collapse in the city this year. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta visited the site and ordered an inquiry into the fire.
He demanded that the head of the civic body’s central purchases department, Ram Dhas, submit a report in 15 days. The report must include the cause of the fire, the legality of the structure and what action must be taken against civic officials, if the loft is found to be illegal.