Shame Old Story Again: Kamala Mills restaurant is a fire hazard

Updated: Jun 27, 2019, 09:01 IST | Anurag Kamble

No, that's not an old headline. Surprise visit by fire chief shows another popular restaurant in the same compound where 14 people were killed 18 months ago, has several irregularities, including a tandoor at the fire exit, poor quality fire curtains

Shame Old Story Again: Kamala Mills restaurant is a fire hazard
Lord of the Drinks is on the third floor of Trade View building in Kamala Mills compound, Lower Parel

A surprise visit by the Chief Fire Officer to a popular hangout in Kamala Mills two weeks ago revealed glaring fire safety issues. The 17,000 square feet Lord of the Drinks (LOTD) was pulled up by the fire department as the chief noticed major flaws. Among irregularities were a tandoor bhatti right next to a fire exit and fragile kitchen firewalls, making customers vulnerable in case of a fire.

While the restaurant fixed certain issues, including moving the tandoor, immediately, a fire official is compiling a detailed report for fresh compliance. Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade Prabhat Rahangdale said he visited restaurants in Kamala Mills compound for surprise checks around 15 days ago. He visited LOTD on the third floor of the Trade View building posing as a patron, but left immediately after noticing the lax fire safety measures.

Priyank Sukhija with actor Jackie Shroff at the Lord of the Drinks. File pic
Priyank Sukhija with actor Jackie Shroff at the Lord of the Drinks. File pic

A tandoor bhatti was placed right beside a fire exit, likely to obstruct people during an emergency. Shortcomings about secondary safety measures were also noticed prima facie. However, to verify the findings and register them in a detailed report, an official visit was carried out the next day by another fire officer.

"The Chief pointed out discrepancies and instructed an officer to inspect the place the next day," a source in the Fire Department said. "The inspecting officer next day told the bar owners to relocate the bhatti immediately. Also, the type of fire curtains in the kitchen and the firewalls were not in accordance with fire safety norms. Many electric fittings too were problematic."

The Fire Brigade's compliance report to Lord of the Drinks in December 2018
The Fire Brigade's compliance report to Lord of the Drinks in December 2018

LOTD owner Priyank Sukhija confirmed having received the notice. "It was sent to us a few weeks ago. When we got our fire compliance report last year (December 2018, this wasn't brought up. Then during an ad hoc visit recently, they told us about the tandoor being near the fire exit. However, that's not our only fire exit as we have two more. We have anyway gotten it removed. We are fully fire-compliant," he insisted.

The inspecting officer is supposed to submit his complete report of recommendations on June 28 for Fire Compliance in a day or two. After the Chief Fire Officer's approval, it will be sent to LOTD, granting them a certain time to get compliant.

Also Read: Mumbai: Police leave no stone unturned to avoid Kamala mills tragedy

Prabhat Rahangdale, CFO
Prabhat Rahangdale, CFO

Kamala Mills still dangerous

"If they don't make the necessary changes, action will be taken," added another source. "A couple of weeks ago, another renowned entertainment arena in Kamala Mills premises, met a similar fate when the CFO visited it and recommended changes. That place has complied to the Fire Department's instructions." Confirming the development, the chief fire officer, Rahangdale said, "Necessary instructions in order to avoid a major mishap have been issued. An officer is finalizing secondary safety measures to be issued to the eatery," for compliance.

Horror of 2017

The Kamala Mills compound witnessed one of the city's worst fire incidents in December 2017. 1Above pub and Mojo's Bistro pub located in the compound were gutted in fire that claimed 14 lives and injured several others. One of the causes was later revealed to be inflammable curtains that fueled the fire. People from both pubs couldn't find an exit door and chocked to death due to the resultant smoke. In October 2015, a cylinder inside Hotel City Kinara in Kurla had exploded, resulting in seven students eating in the hotel dying.

Priyank Sukhija, LOTD owner
Priyank Sukhija, LOTD owner

29 Dec,2017 - The day a major fire broke out in Kamala Mills

Inputs by Suman Mahfuz Quazi

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