Mumbai Fire: Kamathipura Timber Market Blaze Successfully Doused After 18-Hour Struggle

Mumbai Fire: Kamathipura Timber Market Blaze Successfully Doused After 18-Hour Struggle

Raging flames leave behind trail of death, destruction; 50-year-old man killed while over 600 shops reduced to ashes.

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Sunday, January 28, 2024, 02:36 AM IST
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Mumbai Fire: Kamathipura Timber Market Blaze Successfully Doused After 18-Hour Struggle | Salman Ansari

After an 18-hour long struggle, the fire brigade finally succeeded in dousing the major blaze that erupted at the old timber market, commonly known as Lakda Bazar, in Kamathipura on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. However, the fire, capable of engulfing a "seven-storey" building, left behind a trail of death and destruction. While a 50-year-old man was killed, more than 600 shops inside the market were reduced to ashes. Although the exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined, suspicions are being raised that it was an act of sabotage carried out by a few builders. The deceased was identified as Ghanshyam Prajapati.

Salman Ansari

The fire could reach up to the height of a seven-storey building

The blaze broke out at one of the shops at 2.07am and rapidly spread across a large stock of wood kept on the premises. By 3.03am, the raging flames were declared a level 4 (major) inferno. "The fire spread through electric wiring, a large stock of wood as well as chemicals stored in the two-floored structure, covering an area of approx 7,000-8,000 sqft," said an official. The flames were so high that they could reach up to the height of a seven-storey building. It spread through shops and hotels inside the market area. As a precautionary measure, the nearby mall and residential building were immediately vacated, added the official.

Salman Ansari

To control the massive blaze, the fire brigade deployed 15 fire engines, 17 jumbo water tankers and a turntable ladder. It rushed staff of the local D ward alongside two-three teams from fire stations in south Mumbai to the site. “There are several illegal shops and scrap godowns in this area. We carried out firefighting operations from the nearby high-rise buildings. We had to draw water from a nearby reservoir in the area. We also took the help of water tankers. It was one of the difficult operations,” said a senior fire official. Chief Fire Officer Ravindra Ambulgekar said that the fire was extinguished at 8pm Friday and the cooling operations continued till Saturday evening.

A local resident, who also runs a shop in the area, said on the condition of anonymity, "The market is in a prime location, there are also high-rise buildings in nearby areas. So far, several builders have inquired about the land. We suspect that the fire was an act of sabotage." Meanwhile, MLA Waris Pathan said, “I reached the spot at 3am. The wooden market was totally destroyed, while the fire continued to spread.” He also claimed that the firefighting operation was marred by several issues like a crane needing repaired and water shortages. The incident should be thoroughly investigated and the report should be made public, sought the MLA.

Assistant Municipal Commissioner (D ward) Sharad Ughade was not available for comment.

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