BMC demands urgent fire audit of 1,100 cessed bldgs

The BMC has written to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) asking it to direct owners of 1,100-odd cessed buildings in Ward A to carry out fire audits immediately. The move comes in the wake of the Mumbai Fire Brigade making critical observations in its report on the June 2 fire in the crowded, century-old Metro House on Colaba Causeway. The report said ‘defective electric circuit’ was the cause of fire. It has also made several recommendations such as removal of unauthorized encroachment and wooden cabinets installed in the staircase of the building. Subsequently, BMC wrote to MHADA asking it to direct the owner of Metro House to remove all unauthorized addition/alterations. However, this is subject to a detailed structural audit report which is awaited.

“There were unauthorized encroachments, storage and display of combustible products by shop occupiers in the staircase on the ground floor of A and B wing thereby narrowing the width of the staircase,” a BMC official said. To avoid such incidents in the city, the civic body’s letter to MHADA also sought fire audit of 1,100 cessed buildings in BMC’s ‘A’ ward that come under the housing authority. The investigation report also said the fire and life safety measures and the structural stability of Metro House have to be verified and the building has to be provided with minimum fire safety requirements before being reoccupied.