At least 22 people died and several feared trapped in the debris after a five-floor building collapsed in Bhendi Bazaar area of south Mumbai on Thursday morning.
According to fire brigade officials, 37 people have been rescued so far. The building on Mumbai’s Shaukat Ali Road is said to be 125-year-old.
Rescue operations will continue throughout the night.
Fire brigade officials said there were around nine families staying in the building.
“Our disaster management cell received a call at 8.40am about the collapse. We immediately rushed fire brigade personnel to the site to rescue the trapped people. We fear that several people are trapped under the debris,” a senior Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) official said.
It is also not known whether the building was on the list of dangerous structures under the MCGM limits.
The Maharashtra government will conduct an inquiry into the incident, Industries Minister Subhash Desai said.
“Our priority is to pull out at the earliest those trapped under the rubble of the dilapidated building. Once the rescue work gets over, the government will conduct a probe to ascertain the factors behind the building collapse. Strict action will be taken against those found guilty,” said Desai, who is also the guardian minister for Mumbai.
A meeting would be held with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to chalk out an action plan to rehabilitate those living in dilapidated buildings.
“This particular building was already marked for redevelopment as it was dilapidated. A meeting will soon be held with the chief minister and an action plan will be prepared to rehabilitate those residing in such structures so that these incidents do not occur again,” he said.
Reacting over the incident, BJP leader Shaina NC said, “The municipal corporation had inspected the building a couple of weeks ago. The onus is on the BMC. We do know that many buildings which had been cleared by the BMC had also collapsed. The chief minister will definitely take stock of the situation.”
The incident occurred two days after the city received torrential rains, which is suspected to have damaged the building. The area near the building has been cordoned off.
Officials said two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), consisting of around 90 members, have been rushed to the spot. Sniffer dogs have been sent to rescue the NDRF and fire brigade teams.
On July 25, a four-storey building had collapsed in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar that led to the death of 17 people.