Mumbai Kamala Mills fire: BMC submits report, blames hookah embers for tragedy

BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta handed over the report to Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis.

Mumbai Kamala Mills fire: BMC submits report, blames hookah embers for tragedy

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner on Thursday submitted an inquiry report in the Kamala Mills Compound fire tragedy to Maharashtra government.

BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta handed over the report to Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis.

On Monday, the civic body had told the Bombay High Court that it would submit the report in the case after four days.

The BMC officials made the submission during the hearing of a PIL filed by former police officer Julio Ribeiro seeking a judicial probe into the devastating fire mishap.

According to the report, BMC assistant commissioner Prakash Sakpale and Bhagyashree Kapse have been found guilty.

The report recommended inquiry against officials but no criminal action.

The owners of Kamla Mills, Govani and Pub 1 Above and owners of Mojo's Bistro have also been held responsible for the accident.

A massive fire had broken out at Kamla Mills Compound in the Lower Parel locality of Mumbai on December 29 killing 14 people and injuring another 30.

Following the mishap, CM Fadnavis had directed the BMC Commissioner to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the tragedy.

Mumbai Fire Brigade Department had said in its report that flying embers from illegal hookah being served at Mojo's Bistro was the probable cause of the massive fire at the Kamala Mills Compound.

In its preliminary investigation report, the department had said that the fire probably started at Mojo's and spread to the adjacent rooftop pub '1 Above'.

The Inquiry Committee report, which was submitted to the Municipal Commissioner, concluded that fire started from the pub 'Mojo's Bistro' and not from '1Above' as believed earlier.

Most of the victims were trapped in the toilet of the pub and died of suffocation, the Mumbai Police had earlier said.

"It was revealed from most of the eyewitnesses that hookah was served at Mojo's restaurant at the time of fire... There is every possibility that during removal of lighted charcoal from the segree (stove) and or transferring it into Hookah or during the fanning of the charcoal the flying burning embers came in contact with the combustible curtains/ decorative material nearby and started the fire," the report stated.

The report had clarified that none of the two restaurants - Mojo's and 1 Above - had permissions to serve liquor and hookah yet they used to serve them.

Although there was an emergency exit, the pub staff seemed to be unaware of it, it said.

Beer kegs near the exit path also blocked the escape and the kegs eventually exploded and escalated the fire, the report had said.

Use of bamboo and cloth to make the roof led to the quick spreading of the fire, while wind velocity and direction were the major contributors too, it had said.

The owners of '1 Above' and Mojo's Bistro were later arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with the devastating fire at the Kamala Mills Compound.

They had gone underground after they were charged with culpable homicide in connection with the Kamala Mills Compound fire mishap.

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