Authorities have failed to learn any lesson from the past despite the occurrence of three major fire incidents at Crawford Market and its vicinity, even the reasons also yet to known.
A major fire broke out at south Mumbai’s Crawford market yesterday morning. Several fire incidents have occurred at the market earlier too but officials have failed to learn any lessons from the past. More than 60 shops were gutted in the incident but there was no report about any casualties. The fire reportedly began at around 5:19 am in the food section of the market. The fire is believed to have been caused due to a short circuit. Over 60 shops, mostly of perfumes and packaging material, were gutted.
“Our control room received an alert at 5:23 a.m. that a massive fire broke out at Crawford market. Soon 10 fire engines and eight water tankers were pressed into action,” a fire brigade official said.
On November 25, 2011, a major fire had broken out near Crawford market. The fire originated from Sahara Mall and spread to Manish market on the Mohammad Ali Road. The fire had quickly spread to the markets in the vicinity and damaged property, which is estimated to be in crores. However no casualties were reported.
In another fire incident, 11 godowns were gutted at Crawford market on February 4, 2012 but no casualties were reported.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta visited the spot and asked locals who gathered around the market to keep a safe distance from the mishap site. The fire department immediately rushed 10 fire engines and eight water tankers to the market and fire department officials said it was under control. The flames were doused within an hour, a report said, and a short circuit is suspected to have led to the disaster. The 108 ambulance service and EMS van of Nair hospital has been pressed into service. The fire department and police are investigating the reason behind the occurrence of fire incident.
“This is the third major fire incident which has occurred at Crawford market since last four years. Even though the BMC has initiated a major crackdown on the restaurants flouting fire safety norms but they are yet to inspect the market. The civic body should conduct a fire audit to avert such type of incidents” said a trader from Crawford market on the condition of anonymity.
“Often shopkeepers fail to dispose the waste materials which results in piling up of unused materials. If any short circuit occurs then fire will spread across the market” said a Viren Shah a resident of Masjid Bandar.
Crawford market is located in the vicinity of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the shops are mostly housed in old structures. The narrowness of the access road towards the market is proving to be a big hurdle for the firefighters.