By Prachi Sonawane and Zuber Ansari. Photographs by Trupti Arekar
BMC to set up inquiry committee to know exact cause of the fire
Six persons, including a two-month-old baby, were killed while 147 others were rescued as a major fire broke out in the government-run Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital in Andheri (East) on Monday.
Two females and three males lost their lives in the fire. One female, aged 35 years, and one male, aged 60 years, were brought dead to the Cooper Hospital. One female and two males were brought dead to the Seven Hills Hospital. One person had been declared dead at the Holy Spirit Hospital.
Patients were reportedly trapped due to the overwhelming smoke on the building's terrace. The level three fire, which has been defined as a major incident, was reported at 4:20 pm from the fourth floor of the hospital. It was later raised to level four at 4:54 pm, fire department officials said.
According to the fire brigade, smoke spread throughout the multi-storey hospital, trapping patients in the corridors and on the terrace. Rescued people were sent to four nearby hospitals. Meanwhile, all the nearby hospitals were also alerted while the rescue operation was going on.
It took three hours to douse the fire and also all those trapped in the building were rescued safely said, P S Rahangdale Cheif Fire officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB).
Apart from the baby, whose death was confirmed by doctors, the BMC’s Disaster Management department said five others were killed, including two unidentified bodies which were recovered later.
"The primary cause of the fire is said to be a short-circuit. Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is responsible for the fire audits, whether they carried out fire audits or not, that will be investigated," said Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar.
“The BMC will also set up an inquiry committee to know the exact cause of the fire,” Mayor added.
MD Ogle, Deputy chief fire officer at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, said that “15 days ago, the hospital had failed the fire safety test. The fire department had found out that the sprinkler and detection system was not in line with provisions.”
- A massive fire in two pubs located in the Kamala Mills Compound had claimed 14 lives on December 29 last year.
- 12 people were killed in a blaze at a snack shop in Saki Naka-Kurla area on December 18 last year.
- According to Maharashtra Government there have been over 49,000 incidents of fire in Mumbai in the last decade, killing more than 600 people.
- A total of 49,391 fire mishaps were reported in the megapolis between 2008 and 2018.
- Faulty electricity systems caused 33,946 blazes, 1,116 incidents were due to gas leakage, while 14,329 cases were due to other reasons.
- As many as 609 people and seven fire brigade personnel died in these incidents during the 10-year period while properties worth Rs 110.42 crore were destroyed.
- Of the total fire incidents in 10 years, 3,151 were reported in slums.
- To tackle such mishaps in crowded and slum areas, 17 small fire stations were set up by the city civic body and of these 11 are functional.
- Also, 17 quick response vehicles and three mini-fire engines were purchased for improved fire security. Over 5,000 fire workers were also imparted training about fire security measures.