Mumbai high-rise fire kills at least six people

Blaze was sparked by short circuit in an air conditioning unit, fire chief says

At least six people were killed when a fire broke out in a 20-storey building in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, early on Saturday.

More than two dozen residents were injured in the blaze that started on the 19th floor of the Kamla Building, in the west coast city's Tardeo area.

“Six people have died in the fire,” Ramesh Malave, a police officer at the scene, told The National.

“The rescue work is over but the fire was massive and it took around three hours and 20 fire tenders to douse it. We are investigating the cause.”

Video footage and photos showed flames shooting out of an apartment and a dense plume of smoke rising from the building.

Doctors at Bhatia Hospital, located opposite the building, said residents had been affected by smoke and were gasping for breath when they were brought in.

“Twenty patients were rushed to the casualty ward,” Dr Sandip Patil, the hospital's chief medical officer, told The National.

“Six were later discharged and four were shifted to the ICU.

“They were suffocating, facing difficulty in breathing. We gave them emergency medicines and nebulisation.

“Two patients had severe burn injuries, one of them was a woman with 50 per cent burns. One person was brought dead … some patients were shifted to other hospitals,” Dr Patil said.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire.

Preliminary reports suggest that it was caused by a short circuit in the air-conditioning system in one of the apartments and the fire spread as the sprinkler system did not work.

“There was fire in the AC duct. The building has a fire suppression system but it failed to work,” Hemant Parab, chief officer of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, told local news channels.

Fires caused by builders and residents flouting safety regulations are common in India.

In August, a fire killed eight coronavirus patients at a hospital in Ahmedabad, a major city in the west coast state of Gujarat.

In December 2018, a late-night fire in a Mumbai restaurant killed 15 people.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 11:26 AM