mumbai goregaon west fire

mumbai goregaon west fire

The building, constructed in 2008 as part of a slum rehabilitation project, lacked a functioning fire-fighting system. The adjacent Samarth Shrushti building, a sale component of the complex, was also damaged, but no injuries were reported from that high-rise. BMC commissioner IS Chahal confirmed that the deaths were not due to the fire itself but resulted from suffocation. Chahal further announced the formation of a committee to explore measures for preventing such disasters in the future.

mumbai goregaon west fire
image credit: ndtv.com

In response to the emergency, the BMC opened its Unnat Nagar Municipal School premises in Goregaon West to accommodate the displaced residents. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde declared compensation of Rs 5 lakhs for the families of the deceased and pledged to cover medical expenses for the injured.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the fire originated in the stilt parking area, where a significant pile of unattended rags had accumulated. Compounding the situation, the building’s lift had been out of order for several months, leaving the staircase as the only means of escape. Unfortunately, the staircase was already filled with smoke due to the burning rags, trapping residents inside.

mumbai goregaon west fire

Many residents pointed out that the nighttime incident resulted in more injuries, as during the day, most occupants are at work or school. The majority of the building’s occupants belong to the Waghri community, known for bartering old clothes for steel utensils.

mumbai goregaon west fire

The building’s first three floors primarily housed extended families, and the stored clothes in the stilt parking area fueled the fire’s rapid spread, causing damage to four cars and 39 two-wheelers. Additionally, smoke affected an adjacent private high-rise, causing damage to vehicles and structures but no injuries. The BMC promptly dispatched two trucks to remove the rags from the fire site to prevent further damage.

mumbai goregaon west fire

Mumbai guardian minister Deepak Kesarkar indicated that a short circuit in the stilt parking area likely triggered the blaze, which rapidly spread to higher floors. Six of the seven deceased individuals had succumbed before reaching the hospital. Many of the injured suffered from suffocation and lowered oxygen levels, prompting immediate stabilization efforts. Five patients experienced extreme fright after witnessing the blaze, while minors were recommended for plastic surgery at Kasturba hospital.

Some residents revealed that life in the previous slum settlement was preferable, as the current building lacked drinking water and the elevator remained non-functional. Rasik Chekaliya, who lost his aunt Nanda Bhojia in the fire, expressed their daily struggles, saying, “Our ladies have to struggle to even cook as there is no drinking water provided. The lift has been non-functional, and it feels like someone has just dumped us and left in this building.”

Certain residents chose to relocate to other accommodations after renting out their premises, citing the lack of water supply in the building as the primary reason for their departure. Sanjay Tirlotkar, a 7th-floor resident in the SRA building, moved to an MHADA building next to the fire-affected structure due to persistent water supply issues. He recounted a harrowing incident during the fire and emphasized the delayed arrival of fire brigade vehicles.

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