Mumbai, December 29: It has been one year to the fire at two rooftop restaurants in the Kamala Mills compound, an incident in which 14 people were killed and several were injured. The fire at Mojo's Bistro and '1 Above' restaurants in the Kamala Mills compound had exposed the fire preparedness of the restaurants not just in the mills compound, but in eateries across the city. The BMC had even issued notices to several restaurants in the city for not being fire complaint, and eateries were asked to conduct fire audits to ascertain fire preparedness. Mumbai: Fire Breaks Out at Under Construction Building Near Kamala Mills Compound.
However, it seems Mumbai has not learnt its lessons well as exactly an year after the fire at Kamala Mills compound restaurants,a fire broke out in an under construction building near Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound on Saturday. A total of 5 fire-tenders were rushed to the spot. No casualties have been reported so far and the fire is said to have been controlled. The news of fire comes despite BMC’s audit of buildings in Kamala Mills in November. The municipal body had found several floor space index (FSI) violations, and missing refuge areas in restaurants in the congested lane of Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel.
Coming to the fire that had broken out at the Mojo's Bistro and '1 Above' restaurants last year, on December 29, 2017, the Bombay High Court had rejected the bail pleas of the owners of two eateries in Kamala Mills compound, allegedly the main accused in the case.
Justice Prakash Naik had dismissed the bail applications filed by Yug Pathak, owner of Mojo Bistro, and the owners of 1Above pub - Kripesh Sanghavi, Jigar Sanghavi and Abhijit Mankar. All the four accused were arrested by Mumbai police in January, 2018 and were sent to judicial custody. A Bombay HC committee had found grave violations on part of the Mojo Bistro, and 1Above pub restaurants.
An inquiry by the BMC had said that the fire was sparked by flying embers from coals that were being used to serve hookahs on the terrace of Mojo’s Bistro. The fire reportedly then spread to the adjacent 1Above restaurant. Most of the victims died in the bathroom due to suffocation as guests rushed to the washroom after the blocked exit gates, which were a violation of fire safety norms.
But on December 14, the Supreme Court granted bail to 1Above owners Kripesh and Jigar Sanghvi, along with Mojo Bistro’s co-owner Yug Pathak. The Bombay High Court, in the month of May, had granted bail to Kamala Mills compound owners Ravi Bhandari and Ramesh Govani, who were accused of flouting construction norms.
A report in English daily Hindustan Times said that the fire brigade’s special fire compliance cell inspected 3,264 restaurants across the city. Out of these, the 1,395 of the eating places were found to be fire non-compliant. 390 non-compliant restaurants were demolished. However, the fire at an under construction building has raised further questions about the preparedness and fire safety norms in the buildings at Kamala Mills compound and in buildings in Mumbai. Among the spate of fire incidents in recent days in Mumbai, a blaze had erupted at a housing society in Mumbai's Tilak Nagar region on December 27, killing 5 elderly people and injuring several.