At least seven people, including two children, were killed and more than 50 injured after a fire tore through a seven-storey residential building in Mumbai, India, on Friday.
The blaze started around 3am at the Jay Bhavani building in the Goregaon area, authorities said.
Firefighters used eight fire engines and water tankers, among other equipment, to put out the inferno.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the city’s municipal authority, said the fire started in one of the shops on the ground floor that had scrap materials, close to where several vehicles were parked.
They battled the blaze for more than three hours, extinguishing it at about 6.45am.
Fifteen of the injured were admitted at Cooper Hospital, with the condition of two critical, while others were taken to Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Medical College Hospital.
While authorities are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the fire, residents said that it was caused by a short-circuit before rapidly spreading and trapping many of the building's residents.
“Our family members and relatives were there. My aunt has died. A short circuit occurred at around 1.30am and then the fire spread … The fire spread to the seventh floor,” one of the survivors told local media.
“From our family, one dead body is with them [authorities]; they said they will hand it over in an hour.”
Chief fire officer Ravindra Ambulgekar said that the building was built in 2006 under the slum rehabilitation programme and had no fire safety system. The lift was old and smoke travelled through the lift duct.
Images on social media showed people desperately trying to douse the fire that had destroyed motorbikes and cars.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis consoled the survivors and promised that government would provide assistance.
Fires are common in India due to poor building practices, overcrowding and a lack of adherence to safety regulations.
About 10,000 people were killed in fires across the country in 2020, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, making them one of the biggest public safety hazards in the country.
At least 14 people, including several women and three children, were killed after a blaze broke out at an apartment complex in India’s eastern Jharkhand state where they had gathered for a wedding in February this year.