Two people were killed and another person was injured after the slab of a 25-year-old four-storey residential building collapsed in Maharashtra's Thane city on Sunday morning, civic officials said.
The slab of a flat on the third floor of 'C-wing' of the Khatri Apartments, located in Rabodi area, came crashing down on its ground floor at around 6 am, Thane Municipal Corporation's (TMC) deputy commissioner Ashok Burpulle said.
After being alerted, a team of local firemen, police and the TMC's regional disaster management cell (RDMC) rushed to the spot and pulled out three people from the debris, two of whom died in hospital, he said.
The deceased were identified as Rameez Shaikh (32) and Goss Tamboli (38), while the third person was under treatment, an official from the TMC's disaster control room said.
The Rabodi-based housing complex collectively has 73 flats, Burpulle said, adding that after the incident, occupants of all 24 houses in its C-wing were shifted to a safer place as a precautionary measure.
Following the incident, "the 'C-wing' of the 25-year-old building was sealed", the civic body's RDMC chief Santosh Kadam said.
Meanwhile, Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde, who visited the site later in the day, said cluster development of dangerous and dilapidated buildings was the only solution to such incidents.
The building had been declared dangerous but occupants were reluctant to move, Shinde said, adding that compensation would be given as per government norms to the kin of the deceased.
"The only permanent solution to this problem of dilapidated and dangerous buildings is cluster development, which has been approved for Thane city. Elected representatives, civic officials and residents must meet to finalise development works," the state minister and senior Shiv Sena leader said.
TMC Assistant Commissioner Mahesh Aher told PTI that the entire building, comprising three wings with 73 flats, has been sealed and an audit of the structure would be conducted by engineers.
Meanwhile, the TMC, in a release issued in the evening, said occupants had been given repeated instructions to vacate the building, as it had been declared dangerous post an inspection in 2013, and notices were also issued, all of which were ignored.
The release said Rabodi police was asked to get the building vacated, while the water supply, electricity and drainage departments had been told to disconnect supply.
An audit had suggested immediate repairs and the TMC had given three reminders to the owners of the building to get it repaired, the release said, adding that some 85 per cent repair work had been completed while 15 per cent was pending.