Less than three months after a seven-storey building at Lucky Compound in Mumbra toppled, killing 74 people and injuring over 100, the wee hours of Friday morning saw a fresh disaster striking the hub of illegal constructions which falls under the jurisdiction of Thane Municipal Corporation.
Around 2.30 am yesterday, a ground-plus-three-storey structure called Smruti, located a few metres from the Mumbra railway station, came crashing down, and in the process claimed 10 lives and wounded 14 more.
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Residents of the building were believed to be fast asleep at the time.
Eyewitness who saw the collapse said the bulk of the building came down in parts, because of which a few of its occupants were able to escape after feeling the tremors.
Known to be over three decades old, the building housed approximately nine families. Over 100 National Disaster Response Force personnel were deployed at the site. The NDRF team, fire brigade officials and Thane Municipal Corporation’s disaster management team were jointly handling the rescue operations.
Sacchidharan Gawade, NDRF deputy commander, said six dead bodies were removed in the early hours. “Since it was night time all the residents of the building were sleeping and because there were no movements, we were able to remove the people swiftly. When such accidents occur during daytime, victims are known to be scattered all over the house and hence it takes time to locate them.”
High-end equipment like cameras that can locate a victim buried in rubble, air-lifting bags and different types of cutters were brought in by the NDRF to aid rescue operations.
Thane Police Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi was present at the spot. Calling it ‘a very unfortunate accident’, he said, “Our main priority is the rescue operation after which necessary investigations would be carried out to find out who is responsible for this.”
Thane guardian minister Ganesh Naik who visited the spot in the afternoon yesterday said the building was very old and it seemed that its lifespan had ended.
“This was not a dilapidated building,” is what Naik confirmed.
People who lived on the lower floors were said to have been trapped for long hours while those on the top floors managed to escape.
The building had come up when Mumbra was still under gram panchayat rule, yet to come under the Thane Municipal Corporation.