Birthday celebrations turned nightmare for a 29-year-old woman and her friends at Mumbai’s 1 Above rooftop pub restaurant on Thursday night. Fourteen people, along with the woman, lost their life in the tragic fire accident. The fire which injured 21 people started after 12.30 am in the “1 Above” pub on the terrace. It soon spread to Mojo pub on the third floor, one level below. Most of the victims died of asphyxiation, said KEM hospital where the injured and dead were brought. Among the dead were Khushbu Bansali and 10 other women. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind have expressed there concerned over the issue. The location, Kamala Mills, where the incident took place is home to several media organisations. The kins of deceased have accused BMC and restaurants’ authority of negligence in the matter. Several first person accounts have also surfaced. Here is what is known about the tragedy so far:
– Location of the incident: The incident took place in the pubs known with the names of 1 Above and Mojo. The two pubs are located in the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel area, a popular night spot as well as commercial hub housing several offices including national television channels. The location is also known as the media hub of Mumbai. Several media outlets, including TV news channels Times Now, ET Now and TV9 Marathi, have offices in the complex.
– First-hand account: A news channel employee, whose workplace is located in Kamala Mills, gave a first-hand account of the incident. “I was in the night shift. We heard people screaming at the pub. Initially, we thought it is due to the party which was underway there,” said Sanjay Jadhav. “When I came out of my office, I saw that a fire has broken out at the roof top pub. The main entrance of our office was blocked due to the flames,” he added.
Sulbha KG Arora, a Mumbai doctor, told NDTV news channel, she was present at the 1 Above restaurant at the time of incident. “There was no time for anyone to reach out because the fire spread so rapidly. The staff members of the restaurant were trying to help the customers as much as possible,” she told NDTV on the phone. “There was a stampede and someone pushed me. People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames,” she said separately in a tweet. “Still don’t know how I got out alive.”
– Police officials said that fire brigade teams and police rushed to the spot and 35 injured people were pulled out from inside the pub and taken to the hospital.
– Arrests made in the incident: Police have booked Hitesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality. The company is responsible for management of the pub. The officials are charged IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
– Babulal Mehta, the father of the girl who died in the tragedy has blamed the “irresponsible” hotel management and the civic authorities. “The hotel had put up a temporary structure supported by bamboo, with the possibility of catching fire. There was no fire extinguishing facility either. It is the responsibility of the police and civic authorities act against any violations,” he said.
– It is reported that massive blaze engulfed the entire building in about 30 minutes. It took hours for the fighters to douse the flames. The cause of the fire is not known.
– Word from PM Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind: PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy. “Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that that injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also expressed grief, and said he has directed the BMC commissioner to conduct an inquiry.