‘Faulty circuit sparked fire’

In a report to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the fire brigade has said a "defective electric circuit" sparked the December 13 blaze in the 26-storey Mont Blanc building in Kemps Corner that claimed seven lives, including of film financier Dinesh Gandhi, and left eight others injured.

The fire broke out in flat no. 121 on the 12th floor, where renovation work was being carried out, and soon spread to apartment no 122 on the same floor.

Stating that the existing fire safety system had worked during the fire, the report says, "It has been established that the fire originated in the electrical wiring in the bedroom of flat number 121. It further ignited the nearby combustible and flammable materials like cabinets, electric wiring, other electrical and electronic gadgets, furniture and stock of tins of paints and thinner," the fire report states.

The fire brigade also said notices would be issued to residents of the building and owners of the flats for fire-safety violations. "It may be noted that the building failed to submit a bi-annual fire audit report to the brigade in June and January this year for which action will be taken against the residents," said deputy chief fire officer S A Kale.

The report also says that the access roads to the building compound and the open space in front of the building were too narrow for fire-engines to enter and so hampered effective fire-fighting. Moreover, norms such as a second staircase for high-rises and a sprinkler system within each flat have been ignored, it adds.

"Since the building has already been constructed, a second staircase cannot be included now as remedial action. The notices we serve to the residents will be restricted to the storage of combustible material and gas cylinders in the flats, which are in violation of fire-safety norms," said a fire official.

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