MUMBAI:At least 10 people have died after a five-storey building collapsed this morning in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar area. Four people have been rescued, but many are still feared trapped, a police official said as rescue operations continued.
An official said nine families were living in the old and dilapidated Arsiwala building on Maulana Shaukat Ali Road. The building housed a sweet shop warehouse on the ground floor; most families living on the higher floors were in their houses as the collapse happened early in the morning, officials said.
A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is at the spot as are 10 fire engines. Adjacent buildings were evacuated after the collapse, officials at the site said. The narrow streets made it difficult to bring in excavators, they said.
A municipal officer said they received a call that the building had collapsed at 8.40 am. “We immediately rushed fire brigade personnel to the site to rescue the trapped people. We fear that several people are trapped under the debris,” the official said.
The building in Bhendi Bazaar collapsed two days after Mumbai was lashed by its heaviest rain in 12 years on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether the building was on a list of precarious structures compiled by the local municipal body.
Police, however suspect that the heavy rains in the city could have weakened the building, which is located in city’s Dongri neighbourhood, an area full of narrow streets with closely packed buildings, some nearly a century old.
The Maharashtra government will conduct an inquiry into the building collapse, state minister Subhash Desai said.
The collapse is the second in Mumbai in a little over a month. In July, 17 people were killed when a four-storey building crumbled during renovations.