Bandra mall blaze: Waterlogging slows down fire brigade

Jul 22, 2015, 06:57 IST | Sadaguru Pandit

While the fire broke out at a mall on Linking Road at 9.15 am, the fire brigade could only respond by 10.14 am, by which time the blaze had already engulfed most of the shops on the ground floor

The heavy downpour through Monday night and Tuesday didn’t just disrupt transport in the city, but also resulted in losses running in crores for shopkeepers at a Bandra mall where a fire broke out last morning. It took nearly an hour for the fire brigade to respond, due to major waterlogging on the way, and four hours had passed before the fire was eventually quenched.

It took nearly four hours to douse the blaze at Kenilworth Mall on Linking Road. Pic/Rane Ashish
It took nearly four hours to douse the blaze at Kenilworth Mall on Linking Road. Pic/Rane Ashish

The fire began at around 9.15 am at Kenilworth Mall on Linking Road, reportedly sparking from a short circuit in one of the footwear shops, Bootmaker. The blaze soon spread to adjacent shops on the ground floor, fuelled by shoes, cardboard boxes and other items held in stock at the back of the stores.

Eyewitnesses as well as shop owners claimed that the fire brigade responded to their call quite late, about 45 minutes later. Zoeb Shaikh (35), the manager of footwear store Endless, which shares its back wall with that of Bootmaker, recalled that the fire quickly destroyed all the stock.

“We were at the spot at 9.30 am when the fire broke out and everybody was trying to call the fire brigade. After many attempts the call was connected and by the time the first engine and two tankers came, it was almost 10.20 am. By then, the fire had engulfed most of the shops on the ground floor,” Shaikh said.

The fire brigade sent around 10 engines and 12 water tankers to the spot to douse the fire. A fire official told mid-day that while the Bandra fire engine reached the spot immediately — official first response time was recorded as 10.14 am fire engines from other stations took time due to the waterlogging in different areas en route.

“There was complete waterlogging on SV Road as well as Linking Road, which are two major points that connect to the spot. Due to the waterlogging and traffic jams, engines took time to reach the spot, but there was no intentional delay,” said the officer. “We got to know about the incident immediately after the watchman informed us about it at around 9.45 am.

Police officials weren’t letting us in but we wanted to check the damage and see whether the fire had spread to our shop as well. Thankfully, the main shop wasn’t affected by the fire, but stock in the loft somehow caught fire and got damaged,” said Shaad Quadri, the manager of Pavers England, another shoe shop adjacent to Bootmaker.

Official speak
Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale told this paper, “The fire broke out around 10 am and despite having 8 fire engines and 6 tankers, only 3-4 of them could reach the spot due to heavy traffic.

We then deployed 3 water hoses on the eastern, western and southern sides of the building. 30-40 breathing apparati had to be used due to the smoke. There was no vent to the smoke in the basement and the fire was spreading quickly through the lofts, which were illegally stocked.”

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