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January 19, 2018
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Fire in Nagpada building: 4 rescuedBasement had three workshops for 10 years, employing around 100 people; FIR registered against owners

Mumbai: Four people were rescued after a fire broke out in the basement of Zia Apartments in Nagpada, which housed three workshops, despite being a residential building. They were stuck in the lift as there was no power. No casualties were reported.

Residents noticed smoke coming out of the windows at around 12.10 p.m. The fire brigade received a call at 12.16 p.m., and sent eight fire engines to the spot.

The blaze, which was declared Level III at 12.34 p.m., was brought under control within an hour.

The building, next to Anjuman Girls High School, was built in 1984, and has two wings: A and B. The basement was supposed to be a parking area for A wing, which had been used as workshops for the last 10 years, employing around 100 people.

“There was smoke. One could barely see the road in front of us,” Sajid Navsariwala, a resident of B wing, said.

According to residents, the three workshops were a zari workshop run by Zarar Khan, mobile repairing workshop belonging to Ghulam Rasul, and a garment godown, which was owned by Mohammad Shoaib.

In 2013, the fire brigade had inspected the premises and had said that the businesses did not have clearances from the fire department of the BMC. It had asked the officers of E Ward to inspect the premises and take action. The fire report, however, mentioned only two owners: Shoaib Khan of godown 1 and Ghulam Rasul of godown 2. Mr. Khan, it said, was carrying out garment manufacturing, and godown 2 and 3 were carrying out handiwork on cloth. It didn’t mention the name of the owner of godown 3.

Residents alleged that the BMC carried out an inspection, but said they found nothing amiss. Rizwan Khan, who lives on the third floor in A Wing, along with some residents, had even gone to the premises earlier this week to inspect. “Had this happened at night, it would have been catastrophic,” he said.

Sahebrao Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, E Ward, said that he cannot comment on what occurred before he took charge. “We have been taking action against several illegal structures and we will be conducting an inquiry into this incident.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 3, Virendra Mishra, said an FIR has been registered by a resident against the owners. “The BMC is planning to register another FIR against the owners of the workshops under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act.” K.V. Hivrale, deputy chief fire officer, could not be reached despite several attempts.