The cessed building, the 115-year-old Ray Chambers, near the Dockyard Road railway station in south Mumbai, came down like a pack of cards, they said. Five fire engines, two water tankers and an ambulance were rushed to the spot.
A cessed building in Mumbai is one that was built before 1940. The state has taken it upon itself to see to it that these buildings are repaired and, wherever necessary, reconstructed.
Seven persons are said to have been rescued. The seven, tenants in the building, included three senior citizens, who were trapped on the top floor as the front portion of the building caved in, engulfing the area with a thick cloud of dust.
The dilapidated building, comprising 63 residential rooms and 15 commercial establishments, was vacated on Friday after it developed cracks, said Arivnd Joshi, executive engineer of Repairs and Reconstruction, Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA).
“However, some tenants were unwilling to leave the place and had returned to their homes,” he said. A portion of the structure collapsed while debri removal operation was underway, he said. Eighteen dogs have also been rescued from the building, he added.
There were complaints from some residents of the building that illegal construction and internal modification work was being carried out by some tenants, the official said. The building, a load-bearing structure, was not designed to accommodate large-scale modifications, he added. Meanwhile, the video of the collapse was captured by an onlooker on his mobile phone and was telecast by a news channel.