Three people have been charged in connection with the devastating fire in a residential building in the powerloom town of Bhiwandi in Thane that gutted two of its floors and left several residents stranded for hours.
An FIR was registered late last night at Shanti Nagar police station in Bhiwandi against three owners of the building, identified as Sayeed Ulla Ansari, 48, Vahid Ulla Ansari, 65, and Vasid Ulla Ansari, 44, all brothers, based on a complaint filed by police sub-inspector Sanjay Rathod, Thane Police PRO Gajanan Kabdule told PTI. No arrests have been made so far.
The three persons have been charged under IPC sections 283 (danger or obstruction in public way), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 427 (mischief).
At around 7 am yesterday, a powerloom unit on the ground floor of the building at Nagaon caught fire and it spread to the first floor, where yarn and other raw materials were stored.
The blaze forced nearly 170 trapped residents in the building to move to the terrace before firemen began rescue operations and evacuated all of them safely.
The owners had got the powerloom factory (ground and first floor) constructed in 1997-98, and later built the second, third and fourth floors allegedly without taking any permission and used it for residential purposes, Mr Kabdule said.
He also said that these floors were constructed without any proper plan by an engineer, and no safety measures were adopted by the owners.
The FIR stated that the owners failed to install fire safety equipment on the ground and first floor. Also, no precautionary measures were taken for the safety of occupants on the upper floors, which have 66 houses.
The FIR also mentioned that there was only one narrow staircase in the entire building that was constructed in non-compliance with safety standards.
Mr Kabdule said the blaze occurred because of the failure on part of the owners to follow the safety procedures.
During the fire yesterday, the building occupants complained of problems like suffocation because of the heavy smoke. There was no escape route for residents to run out of the building, he said.
The electrical wiring in the powerloom unit was also not properly done, he said.