The tragic fire that gutted Tardeo's Kamala apartment building on Saturday that killed 6 while leaving 24 injured was exacerbated by the fact that the building's fire and safety warning system was not working, Mumbai Fire Department Officials told Hindustan Times.
Amongst the deceased, Hitesh Misry, his mother Meena and sister Moushmi were killed when the fire broke out in Apartment 1904, suspected to be the source of the blaze. One body is yet to be identified as it is charred beyond recognition.
Residents did not hear the fire alarm and many were unable to find the two refuge areas in the building which made the panicked situation worse. Most of the residents fleeing were rescued via staircases, fire department officials said.
In addition to this, the building had not submitted its biannual safety audit to the Mumbai Fire Brigade said chief Hemant Parab.
The fire gutted an apartment in Kamala building at Nana Chowk. The first information about the fire was received at 7:28 AM. It was classified as a level 3 (massive) fire at 7:42 AM, and took the fire brigade 2.5 hours to bring it under control, and almost five hours to fully douse the fire.
This is the fourth high-rise fire in three months in the city to have resulted in casualties.
In October, Mumbai Police had registered an FIR for rash and negligent death against the owner of the One Avighna building in Mumbai's Lower Parel, its occupants as well as the fire safety maintenance contractor after a Level 4 fire broke out on the 19th floor, which killed a trapped security guard. Arun Tiwari, 30, fell from his death from a balcony.
According to fire officers, regular audits and repairs to electrical wires in buildings are a must. Municipal Commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Iqbal Singh Chahal on Saturday ordered an enquiry and directed the civic administration to submit its report within 15 days.
"A functional firefighting system is the first buffer of safety for residents, and it prevents damage to property as well. In the absence of it, the fire brigade has to set up its own equipment, which consumes the precious first few minutes. This in turn leads to raging fires, and loss of life," an unnamed official told Hindustan Times.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and announced an ex-gratia amount of ₹2 lakh to the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 to those injured. Mumbai suburban guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray, who visited the tragedy site on Saturday afternoon, accompanied by the Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar, announced an ex-gratia amount of ₹5 lakh for the families of the deceased.