Eighteen families living in a three-storey building in Dombivli, 41 km northeast of Mumbai, had a narrow escape as half of the structure collapsed early Thursday morning, police said.
The families who were asleep rushed out of their rooms around 4 am as soon as the Maina Bittu Niwas building located at Charu Bhama Mhatre school, Kopar village, began to collapse.
The residents who managed to escape before the major portion of the building collapsed claimed that as soon as they realized that the structure was cracking, they banged on each other’s doors and ran out.
The building had 15 rooms and is 42-year-old according to the local civic body records.
“Every family was asleep when the building started collapsing portion by portion. Initially it developed cracks and there was sound due to which residents woke up and rushed out. As soon as we left the building a major portion of it collapsed. There were children and senior citizens living in that portion,” said Sushmita Nagaral, 26, who lived in the building with her parents and younger sister.
One fire tender of the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) fire department reached the spot around 4.30 am and helped the residents remove their belongings from the remaining portion of the building.
“We received a call about the portion of the building collapsed and we rushed to the spot. The residents had already moved out from the building as there was no injury reported. Our team helped the residents remove as much as their belongings as they could,” said Jeevan Borade, fire officer.
“Even when we tried removing our belongings the remaining portion was developing cracks and hence we could not pick up much of the belongings. The residents have now gone to their relatives’ places for shelter,” said Nagaral.
KDMC officials claimed that notice regarding vacating the building was served to the owner.
“We have started demolishing the remaining portion now. The building was unsafe and we had served notice to them to vacate it,” said Bharat Pawar, ward officer, KDMC.
As per dangerous buildings list prepared by the civic body there are 187 extremely dangerous buildings and 284 dangerous buildings. The extremely dangerous buildings are more than 30 years old. In total there are 471 unsafe structures in KDMC limits.
Earlier on September 21, 38 people died and 25 injured in a Gilani building collapse in Bhiwandi’s Damankar naka. That incident took place around 3.30 am while the residents were asleep.