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Builder Arrested After Fire in Mumbai's Crystal Tower Kills 4, Building Did Not Have Occupancy Certificate

Police said 21 people were injured and nearly three dozen people were rescued from the 17-storey Crystal Tower building near Hindmata Cinema.


Updated:August 23, 2018, 12:04 AM IST
Builder Arrested After Fire in Mumbai's Crystal Tower Kills 4, Building Did Not Have Occupancy Certificate
Mumbai: Fire fighters carry out rescue work after a fire broke out at the Crystal Tower at Parel in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: A fire broke out on the 12th floor of a posh high-rise residential building in Dadar this morning, killing four people and injuring 21, fire officials said.

Nearly three dozen people were rescued from the 17-storey Crystal Tower building near Hindmata Cinema. The building does not have the mandatory Occupation Certificate granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), but it was already occupied by around 58 flat owners, according to the civic body.

The building’s developer, Abdul Razak Ismail Supariwala, was arrested late on Wednesday. The police has slapped sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) 337 (causing hurt) and 338 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.

He has also been booked under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act 2006, the officer said.

The civic body had in October 2016 issued a notice to the builder and the 58 occupants to vacate the building within seven days but it was challenged in the court and is still sub-judice, the BMC said in a statement.

The Fire Department again declared the building unsafe today after the blaze and recommended disconnection of electricity and water supply. The department has also suggested to the police to file a case of criminal negligence against those responsible for allowing the occupants to live in an unsafe building.

The fire was reported at 8.32 am and was brought under control after about three hours, officials said.

Some renovation work was underway on the affected floor but the exact reason behind the blaze would be known only after a proper investigation, they said.

"Owing to smoke and heat, the occupants on upper floors got trapped and 30 to 35 were rescued by fire brigade using special appliances and firemen donning breathing apertures from stair case of the building," Mumbai Fire Brigade chief P S Rahangdale said.

A 10-year-old school girl, Zen Gunaratn Sadavarte, displayed heroism and guided the stranded people to deal with suffocation. Zen put to use the fire safety tips she had learnt during a school project in Class 3, which ensured that her family and others remained safe until the arrival of fire brigade personnel.

"Since the building was without OC, its fire fighting system was not in the place," Rahangdale said. Four people, including an elderly woman, were killed and 21 suffered injuries in the fire, the BMC said in a statement. Two bodies were recovered from a lift on the 12th floor, a fire brigade official said.

The deceased were identified as Shubhada Shelke (62), Bablu Sheikh (36), Ashoke Sampat and Sanjeev Nair. The injured, including five women, were undergoing treatment and their condition was reported to be stable, it said.

Cranes were used to rescue the inmates trapped in the building.

In its notice issued on Oct 26, 2016 to the developer and architect, the BMC had said, "It has been occupied without having been certified as completed in accordance with the MMC Act 1888 and therefore, the building be vacated within seven days and not to be reoccupied until it is duly certified.

A distraught resident said, "We bought a flat in this building by putting all the life savings and now we have been told it is unsafe. This is really disgusting. What's our fault in it? Where do I go with my family with children?"

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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