The fire that engulfed City Centre in Nagpada since Thursday night was finally extinguished on Sunday morning. The Mumbai Fire Brigade is, however, carrying out the cooling operations, a senior official informed the Free Press Journal.
Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) officials confirmed that the fire at City Centre was extinguished at 5.08 am, a good 56 hours after it started. Nearly 250 firefighters and 228 tankers were deployed to extinguish the blaze and bring the situation under control.
“Since there were many combustible items in the shops/units inside the mall, including mobile phone batteries, chargers and wires, the fire kept erupting again and again. Cooling operation is underway,” said a fire official.
The official added, "We are investigating the actual cause of the fire. It would take at least a week's time. Prima facie, we found that there were sprinklers installed in the mall. We will still investigate if there was adequate fire safety equipment and if they were functional."
The fire broke out in a shop on the second floor of the mall at around 8.53 pm on Thursday. Initially, MFB classified the blaze as a level 1 (small fire). It soon started spreading rapidly to other shops and then reached other floors too. Thick black smoke made it tough for the firemen to navigate inside the mall.
Later, at around 2.42 am on Friday, MFB declared it a brigade call, an event in which the chief fire officer is required to be present and classified it as level 5 (massive fire).
“The major issue was the flames that were falling from the ceiling and thick smoke was spread across all floors. Due to this, we were unable to move quickly and it took time for us to extinguish the blaze. Our firefighters were under constant danger. There was a risk of the explosion,” an MFB official said. Total six firemen, including a deputy fire officer, were hospitalised at BYL Nair Hospital at Mumbai Central due to suffocation and minor injuries.
After the fire escalated to level 5, around 3,500 people from Orchid Enclave, a neighbouring residential building were evacuated and rushed to safety. Thick smoke had engulfed the 55-storey building premises.
Many traders who lost everything in Thursday’s fire at the Mumbai Central mall had seen their shops in Manish Market similarly gutted in 2011. After losing their shops in a massive fire that engulfed the entire market, many traders/shopkeepers bought or rented out units in City Centre.