Four die in fire at Kandivali garment manufacturing unit

Updated: Dec 25, 2018, 13:07 IST | Chetna Yerunkar and Rupsa Chakraborty

The bodies were found only after the fire was doused. According to preliminary reports, the blaze started in the ground plus one structure because of minor welding work being carried out in it.

It was not known how many people were in the ground plus one structure when the fire broke out
It was not known how many people were in the ground plus one structure when the fire broke out

Four people died in a fire that broke out in a garment manufacturing unit near Damu Nagar at Kandivali East on Sunday. The bodies were found only after the fire was doused. According to preliminary reports the blaze started in the ground plus one structure because of minor welding work being carried out in it.

The fire that broke out in the afternoon, was doused by the fire brigade around 8.00 pm. Civic officials claimed there was no action against the owner of the unit as it was a protected slum. The blaze broke out in the ground floor of the structure that was spread across 2,400 square feet and it collapsed before fire brigade reached, trapping the four inside.

A local, Archana Mandal said, "The Fire Brigade reached late and after they arrived there was no way of knowing how many people were trapped inside. The relative of a Nalasopara-based worker arrived, insisting that he was inside. The Fire officials stopped the JCBs and other machines and started calling on the worker's phone number. It was through this number that they traced his precise location and then the bodies of the people trapped were removed. There were over 20 people inside, many who jumped off to save themselves."

Speaking on how the bodies were recovered only after the fire was put out, Chief Fire Officer PS Rahangdale said, "Until we douse the fire, it is difficult to start the excavation process. Every fire-fight is done strategically and because the structure collapsed it made it all the more difficult to reach those trapped. Every call is recorded on the wireless and we reached well within time after the call, so there was absolutely no delay from our end."

A senior civic official said, "The BMC did not give any notice as these are protected slums. The fire is likely to have broken out because of some minor welding work that was being carried out inside."

'He had just rejoined after leave'
Sudama Lallansingh, 36, from Bihar, was one of the victims. His brother Mashudhan said, "He has four children. He had just returned from Bihar 10 days ago after celebrating Chaat Puja. We haven't informed his wife."

As per his co-workers, Sudama, Raju Radhesham Vishwakarma, 30, Rajesh Chotelal Vishwakarma, 36, and Bhavesh Vallabhdas Parekh, 51, died when they were trapped while trying to douse the fire. "The body of my brother and another person was found inside the bathroom. When they went inside the bathroom to get water, the roof collapsed blocking the door, and they couldn't get out. They suffocated due to smoke," Mashudhan added. The other two victims' bodies were found charred beyond recognition outside the bathroom.

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