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Pub flouted fire safety norms, obstructions blocked emergency exit

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Mumbai: The ‘1 Above’ pub, where a massive blaze killed 14 people, did not follow fire safety norms and violated regulations on encroachment with obstructions blocking its emergency exit, police and civic officials said today.

In its daily crime report, the police also said the pub’s manager and other staff fled from the spot instead of helping the customers injured in the blaze.

“No fire safety norms were followed by the pub and the management did not make any arrangement for the safe exit of its customers during the blaze,” police said.

They said there were hindrances created on the emergency exit way. “Negligence on the part of the pub led to the death of 14 customers and injuries to several others.”

“The manager and other staff of the pub ran away from the spot without helping those injured in the blaze,” police said.

Meanwhile, a civic official said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had taken action against the pub more than three times for “violations”.

According to the official, the pub had obtained the fire safety and building permissions from the civic body in October 2016.

“However, as ‘1 Above’ flouted the rules and regulations by way of encroachment and other violations, the BMC had taken legal action against its management on 27 May for using the open space for commercial activities,” he said.

Notices had been served on the pub on 4 August, 22 September and 27 October this year by the BMC, asking it to stop encroaching on the open space, he said.

“On 2 August, we razed a portion of the pub for encroaching upon the open space. Thereafter, on 22 October, we seized the open space, where it illegally served the customers. Despite that, the owners of the pub had indulged in violations,” he added.

The fire started at the rooftop of the pub which was hosting a birthday party and spread rapidly through the building, killing 14 people, most of them women, shortly after midnight.

The police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

The case has been lodged at the NM Joshi Marg Police Station.

PTI

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