Sirens wailed and people stood amid billowing smoke after a major explosion and fire occurred at Uzair Bakery at Cheetah camp, Trombay, killing at least four people and injuring 37 yesterday. Residents believe that the accident, which took place at 1.30 pm was owing to the overheating of the oven’s boiler that led to the explosion, but Trombay’s fire brigade officials are yet to determine the cause behind the blast that destroyed the bakery’s two-storey structure.
A wall of the workshop beside the bakery also collapsed during the explosion. PG Dhudal, assistant divisional fire officer, said, “Investigations on the number of people present in the bakery during the explosion, what went wrong with the oven, details about the cylinders being used are yet ongoing. Only after we receive statements from the witnesses will we understand the main cause behind this terrible mishap.”
Mohammad Ayyub, a resident of Cheetah camp, said, “Several youngsters below the age of 18 used to work at the bakery. I was at the mosque when suddenly I heard a loud blast. As soon as I rushed to the spot, I found four boys sitting by the entrance, covered in blood and crying. A woman’s corpse was outside the bakery. I ran in and pulled people out with the help of other residents.”
The victims and corpses were first rushed to Shatabdi hospital from where they were transferred to Sion hospital. A fire brigade official said, “Thirty-five people have been admitted to Sion Hospital, five were in Shatabdi, out of which four were later sent to Sion, and one victim is in Jupiter hospital in Chembur. Officials from Deonar fire station arrived at the spot within 10-15 minutes but we arrived a little late, as Trombay’s fire brigade is located further away from the bakery.”
Recounting the horror, Imran, a chawl resident said, “When the wall exploded, I ran inside the shop and found four dead bodies, belonging to a 15-yr-old boy, a woman and two older men.” Ibrahim Yousuf, whose wife was hurt during the explosion said that at the time of the blast, his wife was making lunch when the kitchen wall collapsed and the stove fell on her, burning her waist and back. “A flying brick also hit my daughter-in-law’s shoulder,” he added.
Zahir Shaikh (12) and Mohammed Afroz Shaikh (25) were brought dead to Sion hospital. Kamronisa (19), who worked at a leather purse-manufacturing factory in the same building as the bakery, is currently critical in the ICU at Sion hospital. Vijaya Arundroi (27) is admitted to the ICU at Sion hospital.
Dr Sandhya Kamath, Dean of Sion hospital, said, “Out of the 35 patients brought in, six are very critical and unstable. Nine patients are suffering from abdominal trauma, chest trauma and head injuries.” Amit Dave, officer of M-east ward, said, “We are concentrating on clearing the site and rescuing the injured.” Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed against P Mohammad Ansari, the bakery owner for accidental death. Atmaram Khere, senior inspector, Trombay police, said, “We are investigating the cause of the blast and more information will be available soon.” He added that they had retrieved seven unused cylinders that were stored at the bakery.