Mumbai: FIR against two officials

Mumbai: The Mumbai Fire Brigade has registered a First Information Report (FIR) under the Fire Act, against senior manager D Pandit Rao and deputy manager RB Yadav of the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) with Bandra Police on Monday, after finding deficiencies in fire safety measures of the MTNL building. No arrests have been made yet.

The said officials were suspended soon after the fire on July 22. Firefighters had to struggle for hours to rescue 84 people from the terrace of the building. All were rescued successfully by the fire brigade in one of the biggest such operations in the city in the recent times.

According to the incident report, the fire broke out on the second and mezzanine floors of the MTNL premises because of a short circuit in the electrical wiring above the false ceiling near tubelight fittings, according to the statement of eyewitnesses.

A minor fire had been reported last year too and even then, the fire systems were not in working condition. The fire department had issued a notice to MTNL under the Fire Act and the system was restored to working condition, but the concerned MTNL officials failed to maintain it, the report said.

An investigation of the July 22 incident revealed the deficiencies in fire safety measures for the second time. A huge fire had broken out in the multi-storey MTNL building in Bandra West area, trapping dozens of people on the terrace.

At least 14 fire engines were at the spot to douse what firemen call a "level-four" fire. Fire officials were seen using cranes to reach people trapped on the upper floors of the nine-storey building.

A new robot van was also used to put out the fire, which had apparently affected the third and the fourth floor the most. Finally, in one of the most successful operations, 84 people were rescued. It was not known what caused the fire. Eyewitnesses said that before the fire started, they smelled burning wires.

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