Thane building collapse: Residents were given notices to vacate structure

Nine occupants lost lives and 10 others were injured after a portion of the 43-year-old Matrukrupa housing society collapsed on Tuesday night; civic officials claim the building had started to crumble on Sunday itself

It was a disaster waiting to happen. Nine people lost their lives and another 10 sustained injuries after a portion of a dilapidated three-storeyed residential building collapsed in Thakurli on Tuesday night. Soon after the incident, fire brigade officials, local policemen, State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) reached the spot and initiated the rescue operation.

Rescuers scan the rubble for survivors and dead. Pics/Sameer Markande
Rescuers scan the rubble for survivors and dead. Pics/Sameer Markande

Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) officials present at the site claimed that several notices were issued to the members of Matrukrupa housing society before the monsoon, asking them to vacate the dangerous structure. Officials also claimed that the collapsed portion had been falling apart, bit by bit, since Sunday and finally gave way on Tuesday night. The housing society, located in Cholegaon locality, was built in 1972.

Close shave
Recalling the horror she experienced on Tuesday night, Urmila Yadav (31), one of the occupants, said, “One of the slabs had been falling apart for the last few days. On Tuesday night, moments before the disaster struck, we could feel that the building was tilting. So we made a dash for safety and asked other residents to do the same.

However, many were too slow to react and the portion of the building collapsed before they could escape. I saw our neighbours getting crushed under the rubble.” The Yadavs have been residing on the ground floor for the last 16 years. Urmila’s daughter Sona, a student of Std XII, lost her study material in the mishap. “I have nothing left, everything is buried under the debris,” Sona said.

Bereaved
Unlike the Yadavs, not all the families were able to vacate the crumbling structure in time. Poonamma Iyer (63) lost her husband in the incident. “Everything happened within a fraction of a second. Our house was on the second floor. Suddenly, the stairs started falling apart. And before we could even think of reacting, we came crashing down. I have no memory of what happened after the fall,” Poonamma said.

Her husband, TV Ishwaran, was found dead in the debris by the rescuers. Locals said she and her 23-year-old daughter were immediately rescued because they were not trapped deep inside the rubble. For 28-year-old Mahendra Sharma, the loss of his father has sent him into deep shock.

“Occupants of the adjacent building started shouting, asking us to vacate the building because it was about to collapse. We reached the balcony and escaped with the help of pipes. But Mahendra’s father, Jamnaprasad, was sitting in the hall when the building crashed,” said Sadashiv Shukla, one of the survivors.

Locals to the rescue
Soon after of the tragedy, residents from the adjacent buildings and vicinity rushed to the spot to help those trapped under the rubble. One such Good Samaritan was 19-year-old Deepak Yadav.

Being a resident of the neighbouring building, the boy helped identify all possible spots where bodies and victims could have been trapped under the debris, locals said. “I knew the exact locations of the houses and those residing in them. Hence, after the building came down, we first searched at those spots where chances of finding survivors was higher,” Yadav said.

The casualties
The rescue operation, which started around 10.45 pm on Tuesday night, went on till 2.30 am on Wednesday. A total of 19 people were removed from the rubble, of which nine were declared dead.

While the bodies were sent to Rukmini Bai Hospital in Kalyan for post-mortem, the injured were rushed to the Shastri Nagar General Hospital in Dombivli. Of these 10, three were discharged after receiving basic medical treatment. While one of the injured was shifted the Meera Hospital in Kalyan, another was moved to Sion Hospital as he had sustained a head injury.

Official speak
“A team of 50 NDRF jawans was part of the rescue operation. We got a call at around 11.30 pm and immediately rushed to the spot. Thanks to the help offered by the locals, we could speed up the rescue operation,” said Sachidanand Gawade, NDRF deputy commandant.

In addition, more than 100 SRPF personnel and over 10 ambulances were pressed into action. Speaking to mid-day, Mayor Kalyani Patil said, “Necessary action will be initiated to demolish such dilapidated structures to avoid such incidents in the future.

While relief packages for the kin of the deceased and survivors will be announced by the state, KDMC will be taking care of providing temporary shelter to the survivors.” All the occupants would be temporarily shifted to Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari hall, Kalyan. While KDMC officials claimed to have issued notices to the society, occupants rubbished their claims.

Deceased
Pratik Zhanzharkiya
>> Pratik Zhanzharkiya (10) (in pic)
>> TV Ishwaran (67)
>> Usha Krushan (49)
>> Usha Sundaram (48)
>> Inos Nodiyar (11)
>> Punsis Nodiyar (44)
>> Shushila Redij (75)
>> Jamnaprasad Sharma (70) 
>> Rohit Giri (18)

Injured
Poonamma Iyer
>> Poonamma Iyer (63) (in pic)
>> Pradeep Sharma (19)
>> Ashan Sukumaran (50)
>> Mahendra Sharma (28)
>> Hemal Zhanzharkiya (19) 
>> Shushila Zhanzharkiya (50) 
>> Deepak Redij (52) 
>> Bhagyalaxmi Iyer (22) 
>> Rekha Maladkar (15) 
>> Saukhya Maladkar (9)

1972
The year in which the three-storeyed Matrukrupa housing society was built. The building had 12 flats; four on each floor

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