At hard-to-access building collapse site, Dongri residents help rescue efforts

Devastation and despair: Rescue efforts under way at the Kesarbai building collapse site in Dongri on Tuesday   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

All of Nishanpada in Dongri, where the Kesarbai building collapsed on Tuesday, came together to help rescue those trapped under the debris. Residents were seen hauling out debris from the crash site, manning the area, controlling the crowd and distributing water to the rescuers.

The ground floor of the building consisted of shops, such as a tailor and paan seller, while the above floors were residential. Every flat was said to be occupied.

Local residents and rescue workers remove debris from the crash site on Tuesday.

Local residents and rescue workers remove debris from the crash site on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Hanif Allahwala, who lives in a neighbouring building, said, “I heard a loud sound and instantly knew something was wrong. Just as I came out I heard screams. The entire area was covered in dust and there was complete chaos.”

The top corner of the building came crashing around 11.30 a.m., while the rest was still standing. Despite the obvious danger, residents started removing the debris and pulling people out. The fire brigade reached around 11.55 a.m.

The lane leading up to the building had bollards in place to prevent two-wheelers from entering. Residents removed these to ensure firefighters could reach the site with their equipment.

Anas Mansoori’s father Israr had a tailoring shop on the ground floor. “My father had gone to his shop today and now his phone is switched off. I don’t know where he is. We are very worried,” said Mr. Mansoori, who lives at King’s Circle.

Hasnain Amrelia, a local, said no excavators could enter the lane, as it was too narrow. “We are manually removing those trapped. So far, I have removed four bodies from the debris. They were completely mangled,” Mr. Amrelia said.

Rescue workers pull out a 12-year-old girl.

Rescue workers pull out a 12-year-old girl.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Shahnawaz Ali Kapade, a social worker, said the residents had been given notices to move out. “A few years ago, there was a similar incident. But in Mumbai, residents do not move out as they have nowhere else to go. Besides, since they had not finalised a builder for redevelopment, they were afraid they would lose claim to their houses.”

Shamin Radiowala, another social worker, said that in many such cases, the transit accommodation given by builders is far away. “Since schools are in this area, parents refuse to move out. In the case of this building, people were paying minimal rent.”

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:56:34 AM |

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