Kamala Mills fire updates: Police launches manhunt for owners of pubs where blaze broke out; both establishments deny violations

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Kamala Mills fire updates: Police launches manhunt for owners of pubs where blaze broke out; both establishments deny violations
  • 17:04 (IST)

    Kamala Mills fire latest in Mumbai's '29' series of tragedies

    India's financial capital was rocked by three tragedies this year - a deluge, a stampede and a major blaze — all on the 29th. The series of '29' began on August 29 when torrential rain brought Mumbai to its knees. At least 10 people were killed in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas.

     
    Exactly a month later, on September 29, 23 people lost their lives in a stampede on a bridge linking the Elphinston Road and Parel stations. And today, in the dying days of the year, tragedy struck again on the 29th with a fire breaking out in a pub in a building in the Kamala Mills compound. The midnight blaze killed 14 people, including 11 women, and injured 21.

  • 16:45 (IST)

    We followed rules, Mojo Bistro did not have safety exit: 1Above statement 

    The two pubs have denied any wrongdoings in the matter. And 1Above in a statement claimed that the other restaurant did not have a safety exit, which is why the patrons dining there had to use 1Above's exit. They also said that the fire rose from "adjoining quarters" and not their restaurant. 

    "The facts of the incident, as seen by our staff, indicate a rising fire that began to emanate from the adjoining quarters to 1Above. We presume the unmanageable nature at the preliminary source of the fire resulted in it's escalation to our property where all owners, staff and restaurant management from 1 Above engaged immediately in clearing the crowd from the establishment. There was no escape from Mojo’s Bistro therefore we believe that all their guests were told go through the premises of 1Above as we have an emergency exit. Hence patrons from Mojo's Bistro also began to rush into our premises as we helped the Fire Brigade that had arrived at the scene to evacuate guests. All our premises are well inspected and we have the requisite permissions for the same." 

  • Security guard forcefully kept people inside small bathroom, says Prateek Thakur, an eyewitness

    Prateek Thakur, 28, one of the survivors gives a detailed account of the incident. Thakur, who managed to escape on his own, sustained burns in his right hand while helping out others escape. 

    "People were drunk. They were not in their senses and didn't realise that it will catch fire so soon. I started shouting. It was then that the public started running. They didn't realise that there was a barricade. They were drunk and were not even able to think that they should jump. They just stopped. There was nothing called a fire exit. 

    I think there are 99% chances that the fire was caused by the hookah. There were at least 150 people. There were eight of us who were there. There is a washroom on the left of the gate. So, those people who couldn't get out they were hiding inside the bathroom. My brother-in-law Lokesh was also there.

    The security guard had forcefully kept them inside the bathroom, and didn't allow them to come out. He seemed afraid that the fire will get inside the bathroom too. It was then that the DJ at the restaurant, a Sardar, yelled at the security guard. The moment the guard opened the door, the DJ ran and after him my wife's brother Lokesh also ran. If he had stayed inside little longer he may have been dead."

  • 16:21 (IST)

    BMC has been asked to inspect all such structures and demolish the ones that are illegal

  • 16:13 (IST)

    Watch: CM Devendra Fadnavis take stock of the situation

  • 16:09 (IST)

    ​1Above denies violations, negligence, says no gas cylinders were kept on rooftop  

    The management of 1Above, the restaurant where the fire broke out that eventually killed 14 people, claimed in a press release that no norms were flouted by the restaurant. Here's an excerpt from the statement. 

    "1Above has all it's fire safety regulations, licenses, procedures and norms in place - we have been able to help save many lives thanks to our fire safety protocols and are grateful to our staff for their presence of mind and help in this time of crisis. To preempt any emergency, 1Above conducts a quarterly fire safety and crisis management training. This was also conducted recently for this quarter as per our vigilant practice for all our staff and managers. There are over 10 fire extinguishers and adequate fire safety signatures in the premises as is required by the authorities. As part of the same fire safety protocol, the fire exit dedicated to 1Above was maintained well as per rules and regulations - a reason why we were able to evacuate persons speedily. 

    We would also like to clearly state that there were NO gas cylinders kept anywhere near our rooftop premises"

    Our owners and staff members have personally assisted the fire brigade in their rescue operations and will continue to extend as much support as required for the same. We also offer full cooperation to all government authorities and concerned parties for any investigation that may be necessary."

  • 15:51 (IST)

    Illegal construction should be demolished at war footing, says CM Devendra Fadnavis

    Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the Kamla Mills compound to take stock of the situation. He said that he has already ordered a high-level probe headed by the BMC commissioner. "Five BMC officials have been suspended for negligence and the owners of these places have been booked. Anybody else found responsible for this tragedy will not be spared and strict action should be taken against them," Fadnavis said. 

    He also added that BMC has has been directed to conduct audits at all such places where permissions have been granted. and all illegal structures should be "demolished at war footings."

  • 15:37 (IST)

    Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis reaches Kamla Mills compound

  • 15:33 (IST)

    Congress corporator complained about irregularities few months back, BMC claimed no violations commited 

    According to The Times of India, Congress corporator and leader of the opposition in the BMC Ravi Raja had complained to BMC against offices and restaurant violating rule, converting office premises or open space into restaurant. The BMC in a written reply to Raja stated that no violation was committed by any of the structure in Kamla Mill Compound.

  • 15:27 (IST)

    Five junior BMC officials suspended on charges of negligence: CNN-News18 

  • 15:25 (IST)

    Is a similar tragedy waiting to happen at Delhi's Hauz Khas Village?

    According to a report by CNN-News18, the sort of mismanagement and disregard for safety norms witnessed in cramped up Kamla mills compound, is also evident at Delhi's Hauz Khas village and Khan Market area. The news channel reported that only three restaurants out of the numerous establishments at Hauz Khas village have got a No Objection Certificate from fire department. Most of the pubs and restaurants have single exit-entry points and no proper arrangement for an emergency-like situation or even proper ventilation. 

    The rest of the restaurants, the news report said, get away by claiming that they have a footfall of less than 50 persons at a time. 

  • 15:13 (IST)

    Judiciary, govt responsible for such incidents, President, Association of victims of Uphaar tragedy

  • 15:04 (IST)

    Kirit Somaiya says five BMC officials suspended after Kamla mills fire 

  • 15:02 (IST)

    Kamala Mills, Phoenix mall death traps, Fire Safety Audits for both complexes should be conducted immediately: Kirit Somaiya

  • 14:57 (IST)

    Unfair to fix blame on Shiv Sena alone, BJP too responsible, says Milind Deora

  • Around 150 people were stuck inside due to narrow passage: Eyewitness

    Siddharth Shroff, one of the patrons at 1Above restaurant when the fire broke out, narrated his account of the incident. 

    "We were at 1Above restaurant for a get together with my relatives from the US. The fire started spreading from the rooftop. We tried to escape but since the exit was only a narrow passage, people got stuck in it. There were around 150 people at 1Above," he said.  

    "My shirt caught fire and then it spread. We started asking for help. There was a stampede inside. There was no other exit. There were some glass in the table so, it was difficult for us to jump. After the panic cleared, we started walking down slowly. I have 20 percent burn injuries. My cousin who is from the US suffered 45 percent burns. The fire spread because of the decoration on the rooftop," the victim said. 

  • 14:38 (IST)

    Maximum city becoming unsafe for its citizens

    The Kamala Mills fire was the latest calamity to hit Mumbai this year. The year has seen a spate of accidents and mishaps, which have killed dozens of people in the past as well. In all, these calamities have accounted for 125 lives. Here's a breakdown of these incidents and their respective death tolls:

    Elphinstone Road railway station stampede: 22 dead
    Sakinaka fire: 12 dead
    Bhendi Bazar building collapse: 33 dead
    Ghatkopar building collapse: 17 dead
    Kamala Mills fire: 14 dead

  • Owners of 1Above have been prosecuted three times before: BMC

    Prashant Sapkale, assistant commissioner of the BMC's G South ward, the area that includes Lower Parel, said the civic body prosecuted the owners of 1Above three times, in July, August and September.

    "In July, a notice was served for illegal usage of space without BMC's permission. In August, a demolition took place, as we have already reported. In September, we seized the space to curb use of the parapet, which was illegally constructed. One-third of the space is taken up by the construction, while two-thirds are illegally used by the balcony. The restaurant also added bamboo charts and tarpoline sheets to make this balcony space hospitable. These are flammable material which worsened the fire,"  Sapkale said.

    He added that rooftop restaurants are banned in Mumbai.

  • 14:23 (IST)

    'Proper evacuation plan could have avoided many deaths'

    Dr Harish Pathak, forensic department head at KEM Hospital, said almost everybody who died in the fire in Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound on Friday died due to asphyxiation. "The flames didn't kill any of them. A proper evacuation plan could have avoided this," Pathak said.

  • 14:16 (IST)

    Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan highlights narrow lanes of Kamala Mills, says there was 'obviously' negligence

  • 14:13 (IST)

    Former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh calls for 'strict action'

    "We must revisit and review all the existing laws and regulations. Not just fire safety norms. but also the way illegal constructions are taking place. They must face criminal proceedings if found guilty," said Mumbai's former commissioner of police, Satyapal Singh, while speaking to CNN-News18.

  • 14:08 (IST)

    Shiv Sena demands judicial probe; MP hints at foul play

    Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant has demanded a judicial probe into the fire that took place in Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound on Friday morning, in which 14 people died, alleging foul play and saying that the pub belongs to the son of "some commissioner". "It is a very sad and a major incident. There should be a judicial probe in this issue. The pub belongs to the son of some commissioner," he said. "There should be a full probe of all such mills, which are being used for either commercial or residential purposes," he said.

    — IANS

  • 13:55 (IST)

    I cannot be aware of all that is happening in Mumbai: Mayor Mahadeshwar

    Mumbai Mayor Vishvanath Mahadeshwar, who visited the Kamala Mills premises on Friday morning, 12 hours after 15 people perished in a massive fire that engulfed an entire building, said, “I cannot be aware of all that is happening in Mumbai”.

    Triggering outrage among survivors and the devastated families of the victims, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) mayor arrived at the spot only around noon on Friday while the fire had started at 12:30am and ravaged through the area for several hours.

  • 13:52 (IST)

    2 burn injury patients critical, says Bhatia hospital 

    15 people with burn injuries were admitted at 3 am today to Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo following the fire at Kamala Mills. Out of these, one person had minor injuries and was discharged within few hours after treatment, while three people (two male and one female) have been admitted to burns unit with 15 to 30 percent burn injuries. Of these, one patient sustained 15 to 20 percent burns and is showing improvement. The other two are still critical. The remaining 11 patients are stable and are expected to be discharged within 2 to 3 days. Bhatia Hospital has a fully equipped burns unit with competent doctors and is capable of handling any burn emergency.

  • 13:10 (IST)

    It was difficult for people to escape: Eye witness

  • 12:50 (IST)

    Pub owners rebuilt 'illegal' parapet which was demolished by BMC on 4 August, 2017

    The BMC demolished a parapet that was commonly shared by both 1Above and Mojo Bistro. The parapet was an illegal construction and BMC demolished it on 4 August, 2017. At that point, one of the owners Jigar Sanghvi informed the BMC that the parapet was part of the original construction. Even though the BMC had demolished the structure, it did not serve the restaurants or their owners any notice. But afterwards, the parapets which facilitate seating arrangements for guests was reconstructed by the restaurants, sources told Firstpost.

  • 12:44 (IST)

    Kirit Somaiya blames BMC, asks when will they wake up?

    Kirit Somaiya, BJP Lok Sabha member from Mumbai, blames BMC for fire. "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 Somaiya. 


    "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.

  • 12:40 (IST)

    Ruckus in Parliament over Kamala Mills fire

    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.

  • 12:33 (IST)

    Mojo's Bistro issues statement on Kamala Mills fire, says restaurant has all its fire safety norms in place

    Spokesperson from Mojo's Bistro spoke to Firstpost and issued an official statement:

    We are extremely saddened by the incident. Mojo's has all its fire safety norms, certificates and procedures in place. The staff are thoroughly trained in fire drills hence our staff were able to evacuate all our guests and themselves out to safety with zero injury. There were NO cylinders on our premises. We are fully complying with the authorities to help in anyway we can. Our prayers and deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in this gruesome incident. 

  • 12:29 (IST)

    What we know so far

    TV reports quoted eye witness from the scene who confirmed that 1 Above had left gas cylinders (at least 25 of them) outside. If the blaze, by chance, had spread to the cylinders, the toll would have been way higher. 

    The building did not have any fire exits, BMC sources told reporters, which is what killed the 14. The postmortem examination also confirmed suffocation as the reason for death.

    Reason for the fire was short-circuit, however, there were also reports claiming a hukkah caused the fire. The hukkah factor couldn't be independently confirmed by Firstpost.

    The owners of 1 Above - Kripesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Mankar - have been charged with 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.

  • 11:58 (IST)

    Clarification

    Police have registered a case of death due to negligence under section 304 of the IPC against Kripesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijit Mankar, who are the owners of 1 Above, and not Mojo Bistro as previously reported. The error is deeply regretted. 

  • 11:44 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi tweets: 

    It is a very unfortunate incident in the Kamala Mills compound. I am involved in the misery of all the families affected. The culprits should be investigated and the guilty should be punished severely: @OfficeOfRG #KamalaMills

  • 11:39 (IST)

    BMC will inspect all restaurants in the Kamala Mills compound: Assistant commissioner of G South ward

    According to Hindustan Times, Prashant Sapkale — assistant commissioner of G South ward — said that BMC will inspect all restaurants in the Kamala Mills compound and even the restaurants in nearby mill compounds.

  • 11:34 (IST)

    '1 Above' did not have license for rooftop area: India Today TV

  • 11:26 (IST)

    Around 10 to 12 of the injured are being treated in the Bhatia Hospital

  • 11:25 (IST)

    Visuals of the burnt restaurant building

  • 11:18 (IST)

    Fire broke out at 1 Above: Mojo's Bistro spokesperson

    "The fire was set off not at Mojo’s but 1 Above next door; this pub had stored cooking gas cylinders on its rooftop. The fire then spread to Mojo’s and London Taxi," Mojo's Bistro spokesperson told Firstpost.

  • 11:10 (IST)

    Babulal Mehta, grandfather of one of the deceased (who was celebrating her birthday), says there was no provision to stop the fire from spreading

  • 11:03 (IST)

    Primary reason for the fire was short circuit

    Even though reports have said that the main reason for the massive blaze was a short circuit in the restaurant building, eyewitnesses at Kamala Mills told fire department officials that the flames were caused by a hookah. This fact, however, has not been confirmed till now.

  • 10:57 (IST)

  • 10:51 (IST)

    BMC commissioner has visited Kamala Mills and taken action: Devendra Fadnavis

  • The body of Sarbajit Parida, 23, has been taken to Balasore. Parida's cousin brother said that Parida was a waiter at the restaurant and used to live in Satacruz.

  • 10:42 (IST)

    Building did not have emergency exit

    Reports have said that the building in which fire broke out did not have a fire exit.

    Sources from the BMC have also told Firstpost that there were 25 gas cylinders kept in the upper section of Mojo's Bistro.

    Firstpost also tried contacting Siddharth Mahadevan, Shankar Mahadevan's son, but his number has been temporarily disconnected.

  • 10:33 (IST)

    Our teams are in the hospital with the police: Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut

    "All our teams are in the hospitals with the police, investigation will happen but for now, what is important is to help the injured and to help the families who lost their lives," News18 quoted Raut as saying.

  • 10:23 (IST)

  • 10:22 (IST)

    Here is a list of all the eateries in the Kamala Mills compound:

    Cafe Coffee Day
    Zesto
    Cafe Delhi Heights
    Grandmama's Cafe
    Flyp
    Mighty Small
    1 Above
    Farzi Cafe
    Mojo's Bistro
    Bombay Canteen
    Kode
    Play
    London Taxi
    Talaiva
    Old Wild West
    Xico
    Theory
    Bar Stock Exchange
    Smaaash
    Beer Cafe
    South High
    Pravas
    Poh
    Pop Tate's
    Fatty Bao
    D'Oh
    Oye Kake
    Verbena
    Frontier Post
    Koko
    Desi Culture
    Talaiva
    Sky View
    Shri Krishna
    Haqq Se
    Copper Pan Express

  • 10:12 (IST)

  • 10:12 (IST)

    All injured have been treated now, had initially come with superficial burns: KEM Hospital dean

    Avinash Supre, Dean, KEM Hospital: "12 patients had come to the hospital. Treatment has been given to the 12 people, who are now stable and have gone home or to other hospitals," Dr Avinash Supre, dean, KEM Hospital, told reporters. "14 other dead bodies were also brought to the hospital. They died due to burns or suffocation."

    "The injured who had come to our hospital had come with superficial burns," he added.

  • 10:05 (IST)

    Shankar Mahadevan's son Siddharth is one of the owners of Mojo's Bistro

    According to this Mid-Day report published in May this year, Siddharth Mahadevan had joined hands with F&B industrialists to open Mojo's Bistro in Kamala Mills.

  • 09:48 (IST)

At least 14 people were killed and 21 persons injured after a major fire in a building in Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel. Most of the casualties were women who were attending a birthday party at one of the restaurants in the compound.

The fire broke out around 12:30am on the top floor of a four-storied building on Senapati Bapat Marg, a commercial hub of the city. The massive fire quickly engulfed the entire building after it started at '1 Above', a rooftop restaurant here and raged for several hours before it could be brought under control.

 Kamala Mills fire updates: Police launches manhunt for owners of pubs where blaze broke out; both establishments deny violations

Firemen inspect the debris after a fire at a restaurant in Mumbai, India. Reuters

The fire broke out shortly after midnight on the third floor of the four-storeyed building on Senapati Bapat Marg, a commercial hub of the city, a civic official told PTI.

The injured were taken to the KEM, and Sion hospitals, the official from the BMC disaster management unit said.

Several fire tenders, water tankers, emergency ambulance and police personnel rushed to the spot for rescue operation, he said.

The building, in Central Mumbai, houses some commercial establishments including hotels.

According to the official, the cause of the fire remains to be ascertained.

Initial reports claimed that the fire started at a restaurant on top floor of the building.

NDTV reported that "those injured have been rushed to King Edward Memorial Hospital and some are believed to be in critical condition".

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 29, 2017 17:22:48 IST