Kamala Mills fire kills 14: With over 36 restaurants packed in congested space, the compound is a recipe for disaster

A massive fire engulfed a pub in Mumbai's Kamala Mills area on Thursday, killing 14 people and injuring 21. Most of those killed or wounded were youngsters celebrating a birthday. The fire engulfed portions of three separate pubs which were situated adjacent to each other.

A massive fire engulfed several restaurants in Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound on Friday. Firstpost

A massive fire engulfed several restaurants in Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound on Friday. Firstpost

And therein lies the tragedy. The Kamala Mills area has quite possibly the largest concentration of eateries in the entire city. A perfunctory search yielded 36 names of restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs and pubs located inside Kamala Mills. Such a large concentration, in addition to the many shopping destinations and corporate offices which also exist in the area, means that a calamity in one establishment leaves several others in the vicinity equally at risk.

These include several Pan Asian and Continental fine dining restaurants, rooftop pubs, live event venues, clubs and discotheques, and even a gaming arcade. Thursday's fire is believed to have started at 1 Above, a rooftop bar and cafe. It then spread Mojo's Bistro, a restaurant next door that shared terrace space with the former.

Furthermore, because of the congested nature of the compound's design, there were limited exit routes. Media reports said on Friday that the places lacked emergency exits and had even flouted fire safety norms.

As reported by The Economic Times in March this year, restaurateurs are competing with each other to set up shop inside the 37-acre Kamala Mills. Chirag Maru, 33, was quoted as saying in the report that restaurant owners are even widening the roads, building parks and much more to improve the conditions.

Rentals have doubled in two years, going from Rs 200 per square feet to Rs 400 per square feet, with either a fixed rent or a 15 percent revenue share, whichever is higher. "Till two years ago, I used to beg people to take up space here. Now, restaurateurs beg me," he said in the report.

Here's a list of all 36 restaurants, as per Firstpost's search:

Cafe Coffee Day
Cafe Delhi Heights
Grandmama's Cafe
Mighty Small
1 Above
Farzi Cafe
Mojo's Bistro
Bombay Canteen
London Taxi
Old Wild West
Bar Stock Exchange
Beer Cafe
South High
Pop Tate's
Fatty Bao
Oye Kake
Frontier Post
Desi Culture
Sky View
Shri Krishna
Haqq Se
Copper Pan Express

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Updated Date: Dec 29, 2017 13:13:23 IST

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