Kamala Mills: Disregard for fire safety sees patrons trapped in raging inferno
1 Above, Mojo Bistro at Kamala Mills had flouted safety norms, which means patrons were trapped in sudden blaze
Firefighters at the scene
Fourteen people -- 11 women and three men -- died and several others were injured in a massive fire that broke out at the Kamala Mill Compound in Lower Parel in the wee hours today. Most of those who died had suffocated at the crowded exits or in the bathroom where they were hiding to escape the fire.
The fire started at the 1 Above lounge, which is located on the rooftop of the Trade Centre building, and engulfed the adjoining Mojo lounge. Both lounges have rooftop seating space and were packed with patrons when the fire broke out. The fire affected the entire building, which also houses four news channel offices.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer KV Hivrale told mid-day, "The fire started around 12.27am and was a level III fire that started at 1 Above lounge. The fire fighters found several people trapped in the washroom and rushed them to hospital immediately. We are conducting an enquiry about the cause of the fire."
Relatives of the victims outside KEM hospital
Dr Sulbha Arora, an eyewitness, said, "I was at 1 Above on Thursday night for dinner with a friend. As we were about to leave a stampede-like situation ensued and the exits were packed. Some were rushing towards the washroom. My friend and I somehow managed to exit the place."
Aslam Merchant, a south Mumbai resident, who had come to 1 Above for a party, said, "I was in the smoking zone when I saw the temporary shed fall down. Within seconds the entire roof of the building was on fire." The temporary sheds made of plastic and bamboo caused the fire to spread.
Minakshi Mhatre, a journalist, who has her office in the building, said, "We evacuated the office as soon as we saw the fire. Outside it was pandemonium before the fire brigade arrived."
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