A 31-year-old man died after a portion of a ground-plus three-storey building collapsed at Bonkode village in Koparkhairane on Saturday night. While the building collapsed around 10.30 pm on Saturday, the body of Priyavart Sarveshwar Dutt was found around 6.40 am on Sunday, during rescue operations, said a Vashi division fire official.
Vaishnavi Apartments was constructed in 2007 and most residents had vacated the building after it developed cracks. Former local corporator Liladhar Naik informed that timely evacuation saved the lives of many residents. “I had held a meeting with the residents around 7 pm and asked them to vacate as living there was not safe,” said Naik.
Naik said that a total of 34 families resided in the dilapidated building and a majority of them had vacated the premises on Saturday afternoon. However, a few families were still there and they were alerted around 10 pm when the building began tilting. “While the remaining families vacated the building with the help of locals and the fire brigade, one person who was in the washroom and using his cell phone with earphones could not hear the alert and became the victim,” claimed Naik. He added there were three shops in the building and people were also staying there but they all had vacated on time.
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC's) Vashi divisional fire officer Purushottam Jadhav said they received the rescue call around 10.50 pm and they rushed to the site. “Around eight people trapped were rescued immediately by fire brigade personnel,” he said.
Officials from the NMMC said the building had been declared dilapidated and residents were asked to vacate. After the incident, residents of two adjoining buildings were also vacated. They all have been accommodated at a civic-run school in Koparkhairane.
Shyam Mishra, a survivor who resided on the first floor that collapsed on Saturday night said he was having dinner when the floor seemed to collapse. “We ran towards the kitchen to clean our hands and then tried to open the main door. But it was jammed. My mother forced it open and we all got out,” he said, adding that within one or two minutes, the building collapsed.
The assistant commissioner of the Koparkhairane ward said he will check with the property department as to whether the building was illegal.
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