Kamala Mills fire: The fire that broke out on December 29, 2017, at Mojo’s Bistro and spread to adjacent restaurant-pub 1Above, caused the death of 13 patrons and a staff member. As per the report by the Indian Express, the cause of the fire claimed by the police was the alleged negligence of a staffer at Mojo’s Bistro. According to a chargesheet filed by Mumbai Police, a fan next to burning coal that was meant for hookahs was left switched on which later caused the Kamala Mills fire. Other factors such as unauthorised constructions of the restaurants, combustible material that was kept in both the eateries and a blocked fire exit at 1Above made the situation even worse.
As per the report, Mojo’s Bistro illegally served hookah to its patrons on the open terrace and had employed separate staff for it also. The hookah manager worked along with four men at the restaurant and they were employed with Nirvana which supplied hookah services to Mojo’s Bistro. Notably, Nirvana is the company owned by arrested accused Utkarsh Pandey.
What exactly happened on that day?
• On the right corner next to the bar counter at the restaurant, there was a counter that was assigned to prepare hookahs.
• A table fan was fixed next to the coal which kept it burning.
• The manager told the police that Sayyed Ali was in charge of the counter that day. Ali is among the arrested accused.
• The manager said that on the day of the incident, he had sent the four staffers under him to have dinner by turns, as he assumed that there would be many customers till late.
• At one of the tables, there was a delay in serving hookah.
• He asked Ali the reason, to which Ali said that others staffs had gone for dinner.
• The manager told Ali to switch the fan off that was kept next to the coal, shut the coal grill and asked him to serve hookah to the customers.
• After sometime he heard someone yell ‘Fire, run, run’.
• He turned around saw that the black curtain next to the hookah counter had caught fire and it had begun spreading rapidly.
• The manager told police that Ali was not at the counter and the table fan was still on.
• The fire spread rapidly through the sheets used in the shed that was installed ignoring BMC’s order for reconstruction of these sheds.
• During the commotion after the fire many people were stuck in the bathroom.
• Fire brigade officials who went to rescue people told the police that when they reached there, 14 people were lying on the ground.
• All 14 people died of suffocation.
The police have meanwhile filed a charge sheet against 12 accused, including Ali, the owners and managers of 1Above, owners of Mojo’s Bistro and the owners of the Kamala Mills compound, reported IE.