A 30-year-old man died after he fell from the 19th floor of a highrise in South Mumbai, which caught fire on Friday. In a video of the incident, the man is seen hanging from the balcony of a house on the 19th floor from where the fire was reported. He is also seen falling to the ground.
The deceased has been identified as Arun Tiwari, who was declared brought dead, according to Dr Parvin Bangar, deputy dean of KEM Hospital.
Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said Tiwari could have been saved had the private security guards appointed at the building been well-trained. “They (Tiwari’s colleagues) had 15 minutes to take necessary steps. Had they caught him in a bedsheet below or put mattresses on the floor, he might have survived,” Pednekar said.
He lost grip on the railing before the fire brigade could put up the ladder, she added.
The mayor held a meeting at 6 pm with top BMC officials on illegal constructions and fire compliance by high rises, according to reports.
According to the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB), the incident was reported from Avighna Park Tower, Currey Road, around 11:51 am. The fire brigade said the incident has been declared a Level-4 fire. A level 4 fire is categorised in the “very high” danger category. The residential building has 61 floors and the cause of the fire was not yet known, said an MFB official.
The official further said 12 fire engines and water tankers reached the spot. Firefighters rushed inside the building even as black plumes of smoke were billowing from the building. Cooling operations were on and 26 people have been rescued to safety, said MFB officials.
The fire was reported to be under control and no more injuries were reported, officials said. After five hours, around 5 pm, the fire brigade declared that the fire was completely doused. As many as 16 persons who were stuck on the upper floors were safely rescued through the staircase while two people, earlier said to be missing, were safe in their flat, officials said.
BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal ordered a probe into the incident. He said, “First priority is to save the lives and fire has been contained by brigade staff. Cooling work is on as smoke is thick and strict action will be taken against those responsible.”
Mumbai mayor Pednekar arrived at the spot and met fire brigade and police officials to take stock of the situation. “Some sort of spark caused the fire. The fire system of the building responded poorly. We have ordered an inquiry into the incident,” Pednekar said.
Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray also arrived at Avighna Park apartments to review the situation. “Fire has been doused and cooling ops are underway. I met and thanked the brave jawans of the Mumbai Fire Brigade for their swift response,” he tweeted.
BMC Commissioner Chahal said strict action would be taken if the complaints made by the building’s residents were found to be true. “An administrative inquiry into the fire incident will be conducted. Also, if the complaints are found be factual, strict action will be taken against the concerned,” Chahal said.
Pednekar said some furniture work was going on in the flat where the fire started. The building has 300 flats and around 200 of them are occupied, she said.
Residents of the building alleged while speaking to the media that the developer had not yet transferred the premises formally to them though society was formed long ago, and therefore they can not carry out any work.
Some residents also alleged that the builder was carrying out illegal construction on the premises. Pednekar said she had asked the administration to probe these allegations.