At the same time, this unfortunate incident has spread terror in the hearts of patrons, who frequent the nightlife that Mumbai has on offer.
It was supposed to be just another Thursday night. Huddled over tables at rooftop restaurants in the posh Kamala Mills, friends were celebrating birthdays together, colleagues hit the bar for a few mugs of beers, and couples were out chatting over shared bottles of wine, knitting new stories into the open night.
But at just half past midnight, a massive fire took 14 lives and injured 15, most of them women. Started as a result of not abiding by fire safety regulations, the blaze started from 1Above, quickly moving to the neighbouring rooftop restaurant Mojo’s Bistro, and even engulfing a chunk of London Taxi’s property.
Photographs and videos started doing rounds on social media almost immediately. And within minutes, the entire city had woken up to the tragic news.
The mill compound in Lower Parel is spread over 37-acres and is home to not just some of the swankiest restaurants and pubs in the city but also to several offices. Brimming with hip restaurants and pubs, Kamala Mills could easily be deemed as a famous nightlife centre in the city. Thousands of young patrons frolic the lanes till late in the night, partying and relaxing.
Reports suggest that the fire could be sourced to have started in 1Above’s premises and spread to neighbouring pubs as a result of a shed made from inflammable material.
But with both the involved restaurants (1Above and Mojo’s Bistro) issuing statements claiming that their licences and regulations were all in place, officials still haven’t zeroed in on the cause of the fire. London Taxi, however, hasn’t issued a statement about the accident.
At the same time, this unfortunate incident has spread terror in the hearts of patrons, who frequent the nightlife that Mumbai has on offer. And, as a result of this, it has left them wondering about their safety at restaurants and bars. “It is not just an unfortunate incident, but very heartbreaking too,” says Rohit Haryani, a city-based food blogger.
Marketer Niddhi Shetty, who usually prefers staying away from crowded spaces, says she now aims to be even more cautious of her choices. “If a pub I am in, starts getting too crowded, I get anxious about the whole layout and the fire rules. Because when it gets crowded, there won’t be any place left to go,” she sighs.
Echoing her thoughts is Rohit, who plans to take a more careful step henceforth. “Going by the last couple of months and the number of accidents in the city owing to fire safety hazards, being more informed when stepping out for the night is going to be my first step,” he says.
However, given the number of fire hazards that an average Mumbaikar deals with when it comes to travelling and dining out, some are simply trying to deal with it by not changing a thing. “I wasn’t one to take the fire norms into consideration in the past, and I don’t think I am going to worry about them much going forward,” shrugs Harsh Mishra, a businessman, who will not be changing much about stepping out in the city.