The fire that erupted at Kemps Corner’s Mont Blanc building on Friday was extinguished after a marathon five-hour long effort but fear amongst residents, especially those living on upper floors of the 26-storey structure refuses to die.
The fire broke at 12th floor of the building and spread following an LPG cylinder explosion. While there is no report on the exact damage caused to the structure yet, residents staying at floors above 12 are not willing to take any chances. They said they will carry out a structural audit of the building.
“Fortunately, fire brigade and the bureaucracy did a good job throughout the night to ensure things were brought under control. But given the incident occurred at 12th floor, nearly at the middle of the structure, we are not willing to take any chances,” Ramu Deora, a resident of 26th floor of the building, said.
Deora, the brother of former union petroleum minister Murli Deora, said given the residents are still in a shock the decision on the audit will be taken within a few days.
According to section 353B of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888, it is required for owners/occupants of a building to carry out structural audits of their buildings. Another resident of Mont Blanc, built in 1984, said that there was no harm in considering a structural audit post the untoward incident. “Building safety is more important,” he added.
Experts though feel that the residents should carry out the structural audit. “In case of fire incident, there is threat to a building’s stability only if it is made of metal (steel). The steel melts due to heat generated during fire, leading to possibilities of damage to structures. In cities like Mumbai, majority of the buildings are made of RCC. Hence, it is unlikely that five-hour long blaze would affect the building’s stability. Still, residents should not take chance and seek advice from an expert,” Shantilal Jain, a city-based structural engineer, said.
Timeline of the fire
7.10pm: The fire started in a flat 121 on 12th floor of the 26-storey Mont Blanc
7.33pm:The fire brigade receives the call, the vehicles reach at 7.45pm
7.56pm: Due to a cylinder blast, the fire spread into another flat and was declared as a major fire
11.18pm: Firemen covered all four sides of the building and the fire was brought under control by 11.50pm
1.11pm: The fire was doused
The building has two flats on each floor but the top floor, 26, has penthouses
There were a total of 14 fire engines, 7 jumbo tankers and 4 ambulances with others. Two aerial ladders were used.