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Fire brigade concludes ESIC Hospital probe

Welding sparks fell on rubber sheets causing the fire: report

Mumbai: The Mumbai Fire Brigade’s report on the fire at the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Hospital at Marol, Andheri (East), has said that the fire broke out after welding sparks fell on rubber sheets. The police had drawn the same conclusion, and arrested two people last week. A search is on for two welders.

Eleven people died and 157 people were rescued after the hospital caught fire on December 17. Many injured continue to be admitted to various hospitals.

The Hindu had reported on December 21 that the MIDC police had arrested a site supervisor and his assistant of the contractor agency, Supreme Constructions. The agency was constructing a new section in the hospital building and work was going on in a ground floor room when the incident occurred. The welders were installing air conditioners in a duct in the new section.

V.N. Panigrahi, chief fire officer in-charge, Mumbai Fire Brigade, said, “We have found that welding sparks fell on rubber mats, which caused the fire. The flames were restricted to the ground floor room.”

Fire brigade officers had earlier said that the electric duct was not sealed on each floor. The hospital building had a provisional fire no-objection certificate (NOC) while a final NOC and occupation certificate were to be issued upon completion of this construction. Just 15 days before the incident, the MIDC fire brigade had pointed out several lacunae in the building’s fire safety measures and asked for rectifications.

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