Mumbai: The inferno that engulfed the City Centre mall in south Mumbai's Nagpada area 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 the City Centre Mall was extinguished at 5.08 am, a good 56 hours after it started. Nearly 250 firefighters and 228 tankers were deployed to cover up the blaze and bring the situation under control.
“Since there were many combustible and inflammable items in shops/ units inside the mall including mobile phone batteries, chargers and wires fire kept erupting, again and again, cooling operations are still going on,” said a fire official added.
The official added, "We are investigating the actual cause of the fire. It would take at least a weeks time. Prima facie, we have found that there were sprinklers installed in the mall, however, we will still investigate if there were adequate fire safety equipments and if at all they were functional."
The fire broke out in a shop on the second floor of the mall in the Nagpada area at around 8.53 pm on Thursday. Initially, the Mumbai Fire Brigade classified the blaze as a level 1 (small fire). It soon started spreading rapidly to other shops and then reached other floors too. Due to thick black smoke emitting, it became tough for the firemen to navigate inside the mall.
Later, at around 2.42 am on Friday, the Mumbai fire brigade declared it a brigade call – an event in which the chief fire officer is required to be present, and classified it to level 5 (massive fire).
“The major issue our fire fighters faced was that the flames were falling from the ceiling, besides thick smoke spread across all floors. Due to this, we are unable to move quickly and it took time for us to extinguish the blaze. Our firefighters were under constant danger, as there was a risk of the explosion all across they were navigating, which mobile, power bank and other digital items ,” an MFB official said.
Total six firemen, including a deputy fire officer, were hospitalised at B Y L Nair Hospital at Mumbai Central due to suffocation and minor injuries.
After the fire escalated to level 5 on, around 3,500 people from Orchid Enclave, a neighbouring residential building were evacuated and rushed to safety as 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 the massive fire that gutted the entire Manish Market many traders/shop keepers, bought or rented out units in the City Centre mall.