The Kamala Mills fire: a look at how the events unfolded

Mumbai fire: Celebration turns into tragedy

The fires rages on in the Kamala Mills compound on Thursday night.

The fires rages on in the Kamala Mills compound on Thursday night.  

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Celebration turns into a tragedy for young Mumbaikar

Khetwadi resident Khusboo Bansali was cheerful as she cut a cake at the rooftop casual diner and bar 1 Above to ring in her 29th birthday with her husband Jayesh and a few family friends. Her close friend Kinjal Mehta, 28, and her husband, whose name is also Jayesh, were by her side, as were Khusboo’s sister Cherry, and another family friend Neha.

“They cut the cake and finished dinner. While the rest of them went down after paying the bill, before Khusboo, Kinjal and Neha could follow them, the fire broke out,” said Mayur Mehta, a relative.

A large crowd took to the staircase and elevators, but many others, including the three women, took refuge in the men’s toilet. “Soon Kinjal messaged her husband stating that she was in the gents loo with Khusboo and Neha and had asked to send help. A while later, Neha came down through the staircase as she thought staying confined in the loo was not the right decision. She tried hard to convince the other two but they did not listen to her,” Mr. Mehta said, adding that while Neha escaped with minor injuries, the other two did not survive.

According to Mr. Mehta, Khusboo and Kinjal were taken to the KEM Hospital in a police van. He alleged that Khushboo was gasping for breath when she was taken to the hospital’s Casualty Ward but doctors did not intervene on time, which led to her death.

‘Gasping for breath’

“She was not even taken in an ambulance with oxygen cylinders. Timely oxygen supply could have saved them,” Mr. Mehta alleged. However, doctors at the KEM Hospital said only one victim — Shefali Doshi — was brought in a gasping condition and was intubated.

Khusboo’s last moments, captured on a friend’s phone, show her smiling happily as she cuts her birthday cake.

Her grandfather Babulal Mehta said that the restaurant’s owners and the city’s civic body should be held responsible for the tragedy. “My granddaughter is gone at such a young age,” an inconsolable Mr. Mehta said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 5:37:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/mumbai-fire-celebration-turns-into-tragedy/article22328361.ece

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