Kamala Mills building fire: Violation of fire safety provisions led to massive blaze that killed 14 people

Yet another massive fire at a building in Lower Parel's Kamala Mills compound killed 14 people, including 11 women.

FP Staff December 29, 2017 14:01:39 IST
Kamala Mills building fire: Violation of fire safety provisions led to massive blaze that killed 14 people

Days after a fire at a snack shop in Saki Naka-Kurla area in Mumbai killed at least 12 people, yet another massive fire at a building in Lower Parel's Kamala Mills compound killed 14 people, including 11 women.

"The incident occurred after 12.30 am at 1Above pub, located on the third floor of the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound on Senapati Bapat Marg, a commercial hub of the city," PTI quoted a police official as saying.

Kamala Mills building fire Violation of fire safety provisions led to massive blaze that killed 14 people

The fire which broke out in the Kamala Mills compound killed 14 people. PTI

News reports have said that the main reason for the blaze was a short circuit. However, eyewitnesses at Kamala Mills reportedly told fire department officials that the blaze was caused by a hookah. This fact, though, has not been confirmed till now.

According to Hindustan Times, out of the 15,000 fires that have been reported in Mumbai in the last three years, around 80 percent (or 12,000) were caused by short circuits.

Other reports have also said that the exact cause of the fire had not been established till now.

What is clear is that 1Above seems to have violated a lot of fire safety provisions. According to CNN-News18, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it had served three notices to the pub.

Sources also told Firstpost that the BMC had in August this year demolished a parapet which was commonly shared by 1Above and another restaurant Mojo's Bistro. But the parapet was re-constructed to facilitate seating arrangements for guests.

TV news channels have also reported that 1Above had also left at least 25 gas cylinders on the rooftop, which could have led to a much higher death toll had the fire spread to the cylinders.

The restaurant building had also reportedly blocked its fire exit, which led to the people present at the building being stuck.

Another India Today report said that the presence of untrained staff was also a violation by 1Above. Poor ventilation, improper functioning of fire equipment, and the presence of only a single staircase for people entering and leaving were also some of the other violations.

However, Dr Sulbha KG Arora, a survivor, told The Quint that the staff present at the building helped some of the people escape.

"Thankfully, the staff ushered some of us through the kitchen, which was the only other point of exit from the restaurant. We escaped using the back gate while the staff members patiently helped us. We could feel the flames rushing behind us. Even the security guards downstairs were asking everyone to evacuate in order, trying to calm people down," the report quoted her as saying.

All the 14 dead bodies were found in the bathroom. "We found all the 14 bodies in the bathroom itself which is around 100 sq feet area. There were two staircases leading down however while one of the staircase was completely involved in the fire the other one could not be seen very clearly by the patrons probably smoke had engulfed the entire area," The Times of India quoted a firefighter as saying.

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