The report has called for action against the flat owner where the blaze erupted under Section 53 (1) of the Mumbai Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966, for carrying out unauthorised work in the premises, and also black listing of the agency that certified that the fire fighting systems were functioning.
The water from the building’s riser system did not give adequate pressure when it started. The fire brigade, in a report tabled before the standing committee earlier, had said that when their team reached the spot and rushed to the 19th floor, they tried using the in-built water hose, but the “water did not have the required pressure”.
Recommendations in the report also include keeping a check on wooden materials used in flats for interior decoration works and empaneling of the interior design companies.
A civic official, requesting anonymity, said, “On inspecting the flat, it was found that a lot of wooden material was used by the interior decorators. This led the blaze to spread rapidly. There needs to be a check on the amount of wood work used in flats, and hence we plan to recommend that like structural engineers and architects, even interior decorators should be empanelled and works should be carried out only through licensed ones. Besides, there is also a need for the fire brigade to have another arm so that while one arm is only assigned to fire fighting works, the other can inspect structures and issue notices to buildings periodically in case of deficiencies in the fire fighting system.”
The report has also suggested that like fire audits, electrical audits must also be made mandatory. However, civic officials have said that while a bi-yearly fire audit can be mandated by them for buildings in the city, an electrical audit cannot be made compulsory under law and the PWD is the regulatory authority for it. Therefore, the investigation team suggested that a provision via an amendment on the same be made in the Maharashtra services Act. A senior fire brigade official said that 70% of all fire incidents in Mumbai every year are owing to short circuits.
A preliminary report by the Fire Brigade into the blaze at the Curry Road highrise had stated that the fire was owing to a short circuit in the main electrical distribution board of the 19th floor flat, number 1902.
The report has been tabled before the BMC chief IS Chahal for a final approval. When contacted, additional municipal commissioner Sanjeev Kumar, who headed the inquiry, did not respond for a comment on the report.