250 firefighters, 228 tankers: How Mumbai mall fire was doused

The fire that had been raging since Friday at a mall in south Mumbai was finally extinguished on Sunday morning. The cooling operations are, however, still underway.

Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) said the fire at the City Centre Mall was extinguished at 5.08 am, 56 hours after it started. “Since there are many combustible items in many shops in the mall, such as mobile phone batteries, chargers and wires, cooling operations are still going on,” a fire official added.

The fire broke out in a shop on the second floor of the mall in the Nagpada area at 8.53 pm on Thursday, as a level 1 (small fire). It soon spread to other floors and the Mumbai fire brigade declared it a brigade call – level 5, an event in which the chief fire officer is required to be present – at 2.42 am on Friday.

Over 250 firefighters and 228 tankers were deployed to bring the blaze under control. “The mall is spread on a huge area, with around 400 shops on every floor. The major problem which we are facing is that the fire flames are falling from the ceiling, owing to which we are unable to move without restrictions to douse the blaze,” an MFB official had said on Saturday. He had also pointed to the risk of explosion due to the presence of mobile batteries, chargers, and power banks.

As many as six firemen, including a deputy fire officer, were hospitalised in the city’s Nair Hospital due to suffocation.

“Prima facie, we have found that there were sprinklers, but we will investigate if there was adequate fire safety equipment and if they were functional,” the MFB said.

After the fire escalated to level 5 on, around 3,500 people from a neighbouring residential building were evacuated and rushed to safety as thick smoke had engulfed the 55-storey building premises.

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