Mumbai: BMC to launch detailed probe into Sunrise Hospital fire

A week after the Sunrise Hospital fire, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that it will launch a detailed probe into the fire incident that led to the death of nine patients, who were admitted in the hospital for COVID treatment.

The civic body had launched a preliminary investigation into the issue a day after the fire. However, due to pressure from public representatives in the BMC, the civic body has had to delve deeper into the matter.

Senior officials said that while the ongoing enquiry will focus only on examining the fire compliance system in the building, in addition to this, BMC will also launch a detailed probe that would focus on the other discrepancies as well.

"The preliminary investigation will cover the fire related aspects as the immediate cause of the disaster was fire, after the report is published, we will analyse it and then will take a call of launching the detailed probe," said a senior municipal officer.

The ongoing investigation is headed by Deputy Municipal Commissioner of disaster management and former Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale. Rahangdale had said that during the firefighting operations it was found out that the sprinklers of the building were inactive, he also maintained that in November 2020, the Mumbai Fire Brigade had sent a notice to the dreams mall administration inside which the hospital was situated.

Along with this, documents of BMC also said that last year deputy engineer of the Building Proposals Department had warned the civic body to not allow the functioning of the building. It was also revealed that the hospital in the third floor of the mall was constructed illegally by violating the Development Control Regulations (DCR) norms and no commencement certificate was acquired by the management before starting the operations.

It was also revealed that the height of the floor of the hospital was lower than 3.6 metres, as per DCR norms for a hospital infrastructure.

"The detailed investigation will focus on the structural audit, will check if the height of each shop in the mall was appropriate along with other safety aspects of the building," the official said,

"The issue involves multiple departments like the building proposal department, the local ward office, electricity and maintenance departments, which is why the detailed investigation will be broader in aspect and could only be conducted after the preliminary report is out," the official added.

Earlier this week, during the standing committee meeting corporator members had created a ruckus on the floor of the house demanding a detailed enquiry on the matter. Ravi Raja - Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the civic body had said that the civic body should do an internal investigation on the issue as well while Prabhakar Shinde, senior BJP corporator and group leader of the party has threatened to move the Bombay High Court if the civic administration doesn't launch the investigation.

Earlier on Thursday, the municipal commissioner had revoked the extension of the temporary Occupational Certificate (OC) that was given to the hospital during May last year.

Officials maintained it's natural for the administration to revoke or temporarily withheld the operational license of an entity after there has been a fire incident or similar disaster in its premises.

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Free Press Journal