For City Centre shopkeepers, a repeat of 2011 nightmare

Many merchants who misplaced every little thing in Thursday’s hearth on the Mumbai Central mall had seen their retailers in Manish Market equally gutted lower than a decade in the past; their mixed losses are estimated at Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore

An enormous hearth broke out at City Centre Mall, Mumbai Central, round 8.30 pm on Thursday, gutting the retailers of 2,000-odd merchants who eke out a dwelling promoting cell phone equipment. Their losses are estimated at Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore. For many of the merchants, Thursday’s hearth was a horrific reminder of 2011, when their retailers had been equally destroyed in a hearth at Manish Market close to CST.

While no deaths had been reported from Thursday’s hearth, two firemen had been injured and three,500 residents of the neighbouring 55-storey Orchid Enclave had been hurriedly evacuated at 3 am on Friday. Prima facie, the fireplace brigade mentioned the fireplace appeared to have been brought on by the bursting of a lithium battery in a store on the second ground of the three-storey mall.

However, that is but to be confirmed. Asrar Ahmed who owns greater than 9 items — 80 sq toes every — on flooring two and three of City Centre Mall, mentioned he incurred losses of about Rs 90 lakh. His father Ammanullah Sayyed is secretary of the mall. “After the fire at Manish Market, all the traders shifted to City Centre and some took my units on rent. They have incurred losses of Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in total,” he mentioned. He added that the majority of the retailers offered cell phone equipment, covers, and costly hands-free headsets.

Residents of Orchid Enclave and passers-by watch firefighters attempting to douse the level-5 hearth on Friday

“My goods worth Rs 90 lakh arrived the day before yesterday and they all went up in flames. The fire brigade could have put out the fire quicker. They took two-and-a-half hours to break the glass facade of the mall,” he mentioned. “The fire broke out at 8.30pm on Thursday when a battery burst. We had only recently reopened after the lockdown and now we have suffered huge losses,” he added.

Visuals of the large hearth that broke out in a Mumbai Central mall on Thursday


Visuals of the massive fire that broke out in a Mumbai Central mall on Thursday


He mentioned that the investigation into the level-5 hearth was prone to take months. “The traders won’t wait for so long and will rent places elsewhere. My units will remain empty as nobody will take them on rent. And all my products have gone up in smoke,” he mentioned.

Rahul Karkaria, who has owned a cell store on the bottom ground of the mall since 2015, mentioned, “I don’t even know the extent of damage to my shop. At least 70 per cent shops in the mall have been gutted. The second and third floors alone have more than 500 shops. I don’t know how to bear this loss.”

Samajwadi Party corporator and MLA Rais Shaikh, who lives in Orchid Enclave, mentioned that since it’s a composite construction with residential residences above and retailers within the mall beneath, extra precautions ought to have been taken. “There had been a number of explosions within the items since they saved digital objects and batteries. There would have been a cocktail of chemical substances.

Residents had complained previously and inspections had been carried out however no motion was taken,” Shaikh mentioned.

Fire preventing personnel work between heavy smoke to douse Mumbai central mall hearth


Fire fighting personnel work between heavy smoke to douse Mumbai central mall fire


He added, “Many residents were terrified and went into a panic. Nobody has been able to return to their homes yet. The cooling operation will have to be completed and the inflammable chemicals and items removed before we can go back home,” he added.

Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner, D ward, mentioned the fireplace brigade was but to determine the trigger of the fireplace. “Some are saying it was due to a short circuit. Others say a battery burst on the second floor of a mobile shop, which had a cascading effect. A lot of smoke was entering the nearby Orchid Enclave and we evacuated it as a precautionary measure as we didn’t know in which direction the wind would take the fire. The fire is still not completely doused,” he mentioned.

Till late on Friday night, close by residents continued to add movies of the mall and Orchid Enclave enveloped in smoke on social media. The hearth was lined on all sides at 3.30pm by the fireplace brigade.

Water hoses snake their way into the main entrance of City Centre Mall; PICS: SACHIN HARALKAR

Water hoses snake their means into the principle entrance of City Centre Mall; PICS: SACHIN HARALKAR

‘The lift lobby was enveloped in smoke’

Mahvish Sayyed, who lives on the forty ninth ground in B-wing of Orchid Enclave, which shares a podium backyard with the third ground of City Centre Mall, mentioned smoke began getting into properties on the twenty fifth to thirtieth flooring round 11.30pm on Thursday. “The smoke didn’t reach the upper floors until midnight. My husband, who is chairman of the building, was getting calls from people asking whether residents should vacate the building. By 3 am the committee members decided that everyone should evacuate as the smoke was very thick. One of my children has asthma. When I opened my main door the lift lobby was enveloped in smoke. This took us by surprise as we thought only the lower floors would be affected.”

With the lifts off limits, Sayyed and different residents climbed down the staircase by acrid smoke. “It was a harrowing journey. The staircase was very crowded and social distancing took a backseat. Security guards went to all of the flooring, knocking on doorways and waking individuals up.

Fire at mall in Mumbai Central, individuals evacuated from close by tower


Fire at mall in Mumbai Central, people evacuated from nearby tower


A physician within the constructing requested some residents to inhale oxygen on Friday as they felt a burning sensation of their throats,” she mentioned.

Sayyed added that the lifts needed to be restarted for about an hour in order that senior residents who had been unable to climb down the steps might be evacuated. “Some residents had babies in their arms. We were reciting prayers for our safe in the middle of the night,” she mentioned. She and her household at the moment are staying in a buddy’s vacant flat in neighbouring Orchid Towers. “We had a sleepless night and we can see little smoke [emerging from the mall] from this building. Our building has been cordoned off and it will take at least another day to douse the fire,” she mentioned.

MLA Amin Patel and a firefighter inspect the damage

MLA Amin Patel and a firefighter examine the injury

‘Saw 80-year-old woman climb down 46 floors’

Zahida Gulam Mohammed Shaikh, a resident of the thirty sixth ground of Orchid Enclave, has additionally shifted together with her husband and youngsters to a buddy’s flat in a constructing close by. “I am with my husband and daughter, and her two sets of twins. We haven’t gone home yet as we are waiting for the fire to die down.”

She mentioned she learnt of the fireplace at 8 pm on Thursday. “We looked out from the balcony and saw that all the cars were being taken out from the parking basement. Then there was a huge cloud of smoke. When our eyes started burning and we became breathless, we decided to get down,” she mentioned.

Shaikh mentioned she noticed, amongst others, an 80-year-old lady and a pregnant lady who’s due in eight days climbing down 46 flooring. “We requested the authorities to start the lift for half an hour so that senior citizens could be brought down. The evacuation went on tunil 4.45 am,” she mentioned.

Massive hearth at City middle mall in Mumbai Central, 10 hearth engines at spot


Massive fire at City center mall in Mumbai Central, 10 fire engines at spot


‘We grabbed some clothes and rushed out’

Mrs Masood Kader, a resident of the fifty fifth ground of Orchid Enclave, B wing, mentioned they learnt about hearth at City Centre Mall at 11 pm however had been informed to remain indoors and never panic. “Then the lift was shut for some time. Since we were on the top floor we weren’t affected by the smoke and could use the lift to get down. In two hours, 3,500 residents from both wings were evacuated,” she mentioned.

Kader and her household of 4 have shifted to a relative’s flat in A-wing of Orchid Tower. “My in-laws weren’t scared when they were woken up at 3 am. We all took some clothes and left quickly. The cooling operation will take another day so it will be a while before we can shift back,” she mentioned.

Kader mentioned it was tragic that the merchants affected by the fireplace had been the identical ones who misplaced all their items within the blaze at Manish Market and Sahara Market in November 2011.

“There were many shops selling mobile accessories on the three floors. The fire started on the second floor. There was glass on the podium connecting the mall to the building. When this broke, smoke started to escape and enter Orchid Enclave,” she added.


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