Thane building collapse wipes out two families

The Sawants and the Bhats were very close and all of them, married daughters included, had assembled to celebrate the birthday of Arun Sawant’s granddaughter Anaya (5) on Sunday; nine members of both families, including the little girl, were killed when the building collapsed the next night

Out of the five families residing in the Krishna Niwas building, two the Sawants and the Bhats were very close, and all the members of both families had gathered there on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of little Anaya (5), the granddaughter of the Sawant family patriarch, Arun (62).

Ramchandra and Meera Bhat with their youngest daughter Rachita
Ramchandra and Meera Bhat with their youngest daughter Rachita

When the birthday celebrations were on, little did Anaya’s father, Amit, realise that very soon he would be witness to the death of not only his little girl, but the wiping out of the Sawant and the Bhat families.

 
Their older, married daughter, Rashmi and Little Anaya Khot

Nine members of these two families, including Anaya, were among the 12 killed when the ground-plus-three-storey structure, located in Thane’s B-cabin region, collapsed in the wee hours of Tuesday. Seven other people, including Amit, were injured when the building, which was constructed in 1964 and had been declared dilapidated, came crashing down.

The three-storeyed Krishna Niwas located in B-Cabin area in Thane collapsed around 2.30 am yesterday. Pic/Sameer Marknde
The three-storeyed Krishna Niwas located in B-Cabin area in Thane collapsed around 2.30 am yesterday. Pic/Sameer Marknde

Celebrations
The Sawants lived on the building’s third floor and widower Arun Sawant (62), his son Amit Sawant (40), married daughter Bhakti Khot (24) and her husband Amit Khot (30) had planned a grand celebration of the birthday of Bhakti and Amit’s daughter, Anaya, who turned five on Sunday.

Rescue workers toiled through the night to recover the bodies of the deceased and rescue the injured. Pic/Sameer Markande
Rescue workers toiled through the night to recover the bodies of the deceased and rescue the injured. Pic/Sameer Markande

Bhakti, Amit and Anaya had come to the building especially for the little one’s birthday and so had Rashmi Mange (25), the married daughter of Ramchandra (65) and Meera Bhat (58), who lived on the second floor and were very close to the Sawants. Ramchandra’s brother, Subhray (54) and younger daughter Rachita (22) also lived in the same flat.

All gone
When the building collapsed around 2.30 am on Tuesday, it claimed the lives of all the members of the Bhat and Sawant families, as well as that of little Anaya. Amit Khot, who managed to escape with minor injuries, was inconsolable. While fire officials had rushed to the spot soon after the incident.

The belongings of the residents of Krishna Niwas were recovered from the debris of the building and set aside with a police official guarding them. Pic/Sameer Markande
The belongings of the residents of Krishna Niwas were recovered from the debris of the building and set aside with a police official guarding them. Pic/Sameer Markande

A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) reached the spot around 4.30 am and the rescue operation went on till 10.30 am on Tuesday morning. Shiv Kumar Iyer, who was closely associated with the Sawant family, said, “The Bhats and Sawants were like a family and shared a very good rapport.

Fire officials recovered the national flag from the building debris and placed it in safe custody. Pic/Atul Kamble
Fire officials recovered the national flag from the building debris and placed it in safe custody. Pic/Atul Kamble

I have been working with Arun for many years as both of us were divisional managers of LIC in Sion. The incident is very shocking as the entire family has been wiped out.”

Ramchandra Bhat oversaw decoration for richest Ganpati mandal
Relatives and people closely associated with the Bhat family revealed that Ramchandra Bhat was an active member of the GSB Seva Mandal in Sion the richest Ganpati Mandal in the city and used to look after the decoration of the GSB Ganesh Utsav.

“Ramchandra and his family were very devoted to our community. Every year, they used to make arrangements for the decoration of our GSB Ganesh Mandal at Sion, which Ramchandra was in-charge of. The incident is very shocking for our entire community,” said Shailesh Pai, a member of the GSB mandal.

Rashmi’s friend, Ashwini Shenoy, said that she had seen the 25-year-old last during her birthday on July 23. “It was Rashmi’s birthday and we had a get-together. It is hard to digest that she and her entire family are no more,” said Shenoy.

Official speak
Thane City Mayor Sanjay More said, “The property was owned by two brothers named Patil. There were some family disputes due to which the matter was in court. The building was dilapidated but redevelopment of the building had been pending for a long time because of this.

In such cases, even the municipal corporation cannot interfere without the court’s directive.” He revealed that there are a total of 2,600 dilapidated structures in the city, of which 58 are in very dangerous condition. “Of the 58, we have vacated 36 and are in the process of demolishing them,” he added.

Additional Civil Surgeon at Thane Civil Hospital, Ashok Kamble, said, “Twelve dead bodies and seven injured residents were brought to us. Of the injured, four were treated on an OPD basis, while the rest have been admitted and are undergoing treatment. After the post-mortem is conducted, the bodies will be handed over to the relatives.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Thane city) Sachin Patil said, “We have registered an accidental death report (ADR). However, if we find any violation during our investigations, a case will be registered against the concerned people.”

Casualties

Dead
Subhray Bhat (54)
Ramchandra Bhat (65)
Meera Bhat (58)
Rachita Bhat (22)
Rashmi Mange (25)
Arun Sawant (62)
Amit Sawant (40)
Bhakti Khot (32)
Anaya Khot (5)
Priya Patel (14)
Manda Nene (70)
Mahadev Barve (60)

Injured
Arvind Nene (80)
Amrutlal Patel (35)
Asha Patel (30)
Ramchandra Medha (18)
Mohan Neoji (20)
Shankar Bheda (40)
Amit Khot (34)

12
Number of people who died in the building collapse

7
Number of people injured in the building collapse

16
Number of rooms in the dilapidated structure

5
Number of families that were living in the structure

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