In Pics: Beaumonde Tower out of bounds for residents for next 2 weeks

In Pics: Building out of bounds for Beaumonde Tower residents for 2 weeks 2

Blackened walls, mangled interiors, and ash are all that remain of the plush duplex on the 32nd and 33rd floor of Beaumonde Tower ‘B’ in Prabhadevi that was gutted in a massive blaze which broke out earlier this week.

The fire, that broke out around 2 pm on Wednesday, completely gutted the top three floors of the luxurious high-rise.

Considering the vertical growth the city is witnessing, the blaze raised serious questions about the preparedness of the city’s fire department to tackle such incidents in high-rises.

In case of Beaumonde for example, which had a state-of-the-art in house firefighting system, firemen still had to climb 30 floors to reach the affected area.

In Pics: Building out of bounds for Beaumonde Tower residents for 2 weeks 3
The top three floors were gutted in the blaze

It took nearly five hours for the firemen to control the blaze and cooling operations continued on the next day. Two firemen complained of suffocation following the operation, but are out of danger.

While several lawmakers blamed the civic body for granting NOC to the highrise despite the fire department’s lack of equipment to tackle a blaze at such height, Mumbai Fire Brigade Chief Prabhat Rahangdale said the operation in such cases is primarily dependent on the building’s internal firefighting system.

“A fully-operational internal firefighting system at Beaumonde helped tremendously to contain the blaze from spreading to the other floors,” Rahangdale was quoted as saying.

Major Developments:

* All residents of Beaumonde’s B wing have been forced to move out and seek alternative accommodation as civic officials have cut power and water connection to the building.

* Since Thursday morning, residents have been allowed to enter flats one at a time to fetch their belongings. However, a large portion of the building, including the elevator shaft and common areas, are littered with small debris and large amount of water.

In Pics: Building out of bounds for Beaumonde Tower residents for 2 weeks 1
Debris on one of the lower floors

* During a meeting yesterday, society members were informed that the building will remain out of bounds for the next 2 weeks while officials make sure the water is completely removed from the electric ducts and does not result in any short circuit.

* The glass facade, windows, decorative items and furniture of several houses – especially the ones directly below the one where the fire broke out – were inadvertently damaged during operation.

* The incident took place at NRI businessman Harish Fabiani’s house. His manager Bhushan Rane along with three helpers were present in the house when the fire broke out.

* A faulty air conditioner is suspected to have caused the fire, although a confirmation from the fire department is awaited.

In Pics: Building out of bounds for Beaumonde Tower residents for 2 weeks
The firefighting operation inadvertently caused some damage on the lower floors

* Going forward, under DCPR 2034, buildings with more than 22 floors will have to compulsorily install fire evacuation lifts to facilitate rescue operations during emergencies in order to get a NOC from BMC.

* The lifts will be required to have fire-resistant cabins and power backup, which will enable firemen to reach the affected areas and rescue victims quickly. Residents would be allowed to use the lifts to ensure they are regularly maintained.

* Police have recorded the statements of residents, security guards and other staffers that were present in the building when the blaze started. There are no reports of any foul play as yet.

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