Mumbai: A five-storey residential building in the congested Bhendi Bazar area of south Mumbai collapsed on Thursday, killing at least 24 people and injuring 14 others, officials said. About 30 others were feared trapped.
Fire brigade officials said some nine families lived in the dilapidated Husaini Building. Some media reports said it also housed a play school but children had not arrived yet when the tragedy occurred.
The building, mostly housing lower-middle class families, was located in the Muslim-dominated Pakmodia Street near the JJ Hospital. The building, which also had six godowns on the ground floor, crumbled at around 8:30am. It’s not clear if the heavy rains that inundated Mumbai this week had weakened the building, said to be over 100 years old.
What remained was a large mound of concrete rubble and steel rods encircled by other houses including what appeared to be a tall building. Rescue workers in hard hats clambered up the mound and hammered at concrete slabs with hammers to reach underneath. Cranes and bulldozers were also deployed to scoop up the debris. Residents helped with bare hands.
The Disaster Management Cell of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) received a call about the collapse at 8:40am. The MCGM rushed its emergency rescue team followed by ambulances, dumpers and earth-movers to the spot. Soon, 90 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were also rushed to the spot.
The rescue operation is being carried out by the NDRF team with the help of fire brigade personnel.
A senior police official said 24 people, including an elderly couple, died and 14 others were injured in the incident.
The injured were admitted to the J J Hospital. The deceased included nine men and three women, he said. The identity of the deceased is being established.
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