Fire at Kothari Building
Firemen attempting to put out the inferno at Kothari Building, in Mumbai.ANI

A fire at the abandoned Kothari building in Fort area of Mumbai has left two firefighters injured.

The fire in the British-era building of the Central Business District broke out at 4:30 AM today morning. The inferno has left a part of the dilapidated building completely destroyed since its structure was very weak. The fire-fighters took precaution to control the blaze from outside with the water curtain and not allow it to spread to adjoining buildings in the congested area.

As a team of firemen were fighting the fire, when it spread to some old electrical appliances causing the south side of the structure to collapse suddenly at 6:45 AM, catching the firemen unaware.

The building collapsed onto a fire brigade tanker, causing the two firemen on the ladder to be injured as per official sources. There were 18 firemen at the scene, and no one else sustained injuries. The two injured have been shifted to hospital for treatment.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Disaster Cell said the building was abandoned more than five years ago after its main staircase crashed, rendering it unfit for habitation.

Having been classified as a C-1 structure (most vulnerable) there has been no indication from the BMC as to why it wasn't torn down. Madha, the state government authority responsible for the demolition of old buildings is yet to respond. 

The lack of response has put thousands of pedestrians in harm's way, who used the cover provided by the building's arches to walk around the busy area near the CST railway station.

Sources now say that the BMC and Madha will tear down the entire building. The BMC has already sent vehicles and labourers to the spot to remove the debris so as to avoid causing inconvenience to motorists.

Fires in Mumbai have become increasingly common, with over seven recorded in January alone.

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[With inputs from IANS]