Kamala Mills blaze: BMC report blames illegal hookah, misuse of DCR and IT policy

Mumbai: The inquiry report by the Mumbai municipal commissioner on the deadly fire at Kamla Mills compound confirmed the theory that flying embers from hookah served illegally at Mojo's Bistro was the trigger. Fourteen persons died, most of them at the roof-top 1 Above pub next to Mojo's Bistro, in the fire on 29 December.

File image of the blaze at a pub in Mumbai's Kamala Mill Compound. PTI

File image of the blaze at a pub in Mumbai's Kamala Mill Compound. PTI

The report submitted by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta found that the blaze started due to flying charcoal embers from hookah, served illegally in Mojo's Bistro. It also proposed criminal action against the owner of the premises, owners of both the restaurants and concerned architects and interior decorators.

Mehta, speaking to Firstpost, said, "There has been a misuse of the development control regulation and IT development policy. A detailed survey and analysis is needed. We will give the government a detailed report of this."

He further added, "As per Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' orders, I've handed over the report to him within three weeks of the blaze. I'm also making the report publicly available and it will be uploaded on the BMC website."

Mehta added that a copy of the report was sent to Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar and that the state government and police could take action accordingly.

A preliminary report by the Mumbai fire brigade had suggested that flying embers from hookah at Mojo's Bistro may have started the fire. "The cause of fire was fire starting from the flying embers from the hookah being illegally served in Mojo's Bistro restaurant which had partially unauthorisedly covered their terrace and used all kinds of combustible material for the construction of the same," Mehta's report said.

The "very flammable material" used to cover the terrace of 1 Above pub then caught fire immediately from its common wall with Mojo's Bistro, and spread rapidly, it said. Its terrace too had been covered without permission, the report said. The owner of the premises who gave permission for unauthorised use of terrace areas to these two restaurants was equally responsible for the fire and deaths, the report said.

"It is therefore proposed to initiate criminal action against owner of the premises, owners of the restaurants, the architect and the interior decorator who carried out...these unauthorised works and illegal activities," the report said.

It also proposed departmental inquiry against ten fire brigade officials for dereliction of duty. The 98-page report sought amendments to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act to make punishment for such lapses by restaurants or eateries more stringent.

Every owner/occupier of commercial premises must appoint a `fire safety officer' trained in matters related to fire safety, and his or her name and contact details must be shared with the city's Chief Fire Officer, the report said. Police have already arrested owners of both the restaurants in the case.


With inputs from PTI and Sanjay Sawant


Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 00:13 AM

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