As blaze raged at Gokul, fire extinguishers lay unused

Even as a major fire gutted Gokul Nursing Home in Mulund and claimed one life Thursday, the fire safety system in the building lay unused. Fire officials said despite fire extinguishers installed in the nursing home, the nursing home staff failed to make use of them.

Mumbai Fire Brigade assistant divisional officer S B Karade said, "There was a fire extinguisher in probably every cabin, but the people there didn't use them to douse the fire. Extinguishers can be used to stop the fire from spreading in the initial stages," Karade said.

While the building has a separate main meter box on the ground floor, the individual meters installed on the first floor caught fire, said fire officials. Electricity is yet to be restored in the building.

"There was no electricity in the building the whole day. MSEB officials visited but are yet to take action," said Deepak B Joisher, owner of FotoVision, a studio below Gokul. Joisher lost equipment worth nearly Rs 15 lakh. "The false ceiling of my studio can collapse any time. Most of the furniture, cameras and lighting equipment were destroyed," Joisher said.

Karade said the fire department had got all the necessary documents and licences issued to the nursing home. "Prima facie, it seems the fire was caused by a short circuit in the meter box. It could have been because of an overload or loose connection. A probe is on," Karade said.

The nursing home, which housed 14 patients at the time of the incident, will not function for at least two months.

"We will wait till a structural audit is done and fire regulations are put in place by the authorities concerned. We will ensure that all safety measures are in place before the home is functional again," said Dr Narendra Mehta, director of the nursing home.

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