The operator of Mojo Bistro, Yug Tuli, on Saturday issued a statement defended his staff and said that they were trained in handling emergency situations and had rescued each and every customer from its premises. The pub also denied reports that it had any cylinders on its premises.
Mojo's Bistro, the pub, was one of the many establishments in the central Mumbai building that caught fire shortly after midnight on Friday.
The statement released by Tuli read:
I, Yug Tuli, Age 29, am a director in Tirupati Restaurants and Cafe Pvt. Ltd. The Company is the operator of Mojos Bistro, on the Level 2 of Trade House, Kamala Mills Compound.
The Operations are completely managed by my Managers and the Staff in the restaurant. I was travelling from my Vashi Office towards Chembur around midnight 12am of Friday, 29th December 2017, when I stopped by a medical/grocery store (NOBEL) to pick up some general groceries.
After returning to my car I noticed a missed call from my manager Manoj, I called him back and he was panicking and crying out that the restaurant is on fire, I was myself panicked and asked him if the guests and the staff were safe, to which he replied that they were being evacuated while the fire brigade had already been informed.
I drove to Kamala mills and on reaching there I met my staff and was not allowed to go near the building as it was completely sealed off the authorities for the rescue ops. I reconfirmed with my staff if all the Guests and Staff were evacuated, to which they assured me that it had been done and one my Manager Manoj had gone in with the fire fighters to 1 Above to help out with the guests trapped inside.
On enquiring with my staff, as I was not at the restaurant when the fire broke out, there were around 40 guests in the restaurant and some staff members informed that they heard a loud blast and some just started to see flames and while half of them ran to doze the flames off with a fire extinguisher, the rest escorted the guests out.
On asking the staff multiple times, they assured me that there was not even one single injury and that every Guest and staff had been evacuated safely, through the fire exits, which belong to the building and not to any one outlet.
We have been very particular about the safety measures in our outlets and can assure you that there were no gas cylinders in the kitchen (which is still intact) or anywhere on our premises. The Gas Bank is situated on the ground floor. The Staff was trained a month back for basic first aid, CPR, and fire drills and that was the primary reason why the staff was able to locate the building fire exits and evacuate guests to safety, without any injuries or casualties.
I left the Kamala mills at 2.30 am and asked my managers to stay back and cooperate with the authorities. They stayed at Kamala mills with the authorities till 5 am, after which they were called to the Police station to file their statements.
Fourteen people were killed in the fire that started after 12:30 am in the 1 Above pub on the terrace of the building in Lower Parel and spread to Mojo's Bistro on the third floor, one level below.
Eyewitnesses said LPG cylinders, bigger than the ones used in homes, were kept close to the spot, which may have led to the flames spreading.
An earlier statement had said that it was saddened by the incident and the loss of lives. The statement from Mojo's claimed the facility had all its fire safety norms, certificates, and procedures in place.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Dec 31, 2017 12:37:18 IST