The Bangalore City Police on Thursday intensified investigation into the causes of Tuesday’s Carlton Towers fire that led to the death of nine persons and hospitalisation of scores.
Their line of inquiry includes possible blocking of corridors and closure of exit doors.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) M. Chandra Sekhar told The Hindu the police are questioning several people associated with the building to find out why thick smoke spread to the upper floors. “We are trying to find out whether there were any deviations after the building was occupied,” he said.
The inaccessibility of the corridor connecting the staircases on either side of the building and the wiring system in the duct are also under the police scanner. “We will look into the functioning of the owners’ association which takes care of the maintenance,” he said.
The police are also awaiting reports from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services, the State Electrical Inspectorate and the Forensic Sciences Laboratory.
Meanwhile, the BBMP, which has finalised its report, is understood to have found no violation in the building’s construction. “We did not find any violations or encroachments. Even the emergency staircases on either side are in place. I walked through the corridors on one of the floors and other officials from Town Planning checked the other corridors,” said a senior BBMP official, who was in the team that inspected the building.
The officials, however, have taken note of the presence of the communication towers atop Carlton Towers. “We have to check whether the building owners had obtained BBMP’s permission before installing them,” he said.
“An electrical short circuit had caused fire near the lift on the one of the lower floors, leading to the smoke travelling to the higher floors through the duct,” the official said but added that cause of the short circuit is being ascertained by the State Electrical Inspectorate. Officials from the Inspectorate were not available for comment.
BBMP Special Commissioner Govindraj confirmed that the report was ready, but said he was not aware of its contents.
Meanwhile, employees in offices located on of the Carlton Towers continued to wait outside on Thursday also in the hope of retrieving their belongings they left behind while fleeing Tuesday’s fire.
“We are not being told [when we can go in]. I’m worried about the laptops and other [crucial] items in the office,” said Anita Kapoor of Synnova, which is on fifth floor. “I’ve been coming here three times a day,” she added.