Mumbai: Week after Byculla fire, body found under debris

Updated: Dec 28, 2016, 22:55 IST | Gaurav Sarkar |

The fire brigade’s report of no casualties at the devastating Byculla fire late last Tuesday turns to ashes a week later with the decomposing body of a 26-year-old labourer being found under the debris

The fire brigade had earlier claimed that there were no casualties in last Tuesday’s fire. File pic
The fire brigade had earlier claimed that there were no casualties in last Tuesday’s fire. File pic

Despite having 14 fire engines and 10 water tankers at the spot when a devastating fire occurred at Madanpura in Byculla late last Tuesday, along with nearly 50 fire officers from across the city, the fire brigade’s earlier report of no casualties turned to ashes a week later, yesterday afternoon, when the decomposing body of a 26-year-old labourer was found under the debris. The deceased was employed at a bag-making workshop in the area.

The fire brigade had arrived ill prepared for the fire that had eaten up nearly three-fourths of a lane in Madanpura. The fire officials had to draw water from the tanks of two nearby buildings, as well as borrow nearly 8 litres of fuel from the bikes of the buildings’ residents to get their machinery going at the time.

Also read: Oops! Fire brigade arrives to douse blaze, without enough fuel or water

Pointing out that a majority of the structures in the neighbourhood were illegal, Chief Fire Officer PS Rahangdale said they received a call from the residents of the area on Tuesday, complaining of a stench emanating from the spot.
“The body was found in a decomposing state this afternoon. The boy was inside one of the toilets of the two-floored illegal structure that collapsed when the fire occurred. The fire engulfed a huge area and since the victim was trapped under the debris and out of sight at the time, we were not able to see him.”

According to him, the damaged buildings still pose a threat to the neighbourhood.

Senior police inspector Ashok Sarmbalkar from the Agripada police station, said, “Disaster management officials as well as the fire brigade had searched the area, but they could not find the body then as it was hidden under the debris. We will also be taking the statement of the owner of the workshop who employed the victim.”

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