A huge fire broke out on stage during a cultural programme at the Make in India event in Mumbai on Sunday evening.However, no casualties were reported as the venue, at the Girgaum Chowpatty area, was emptied within minutes.
Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray were a few meters from where the fire broke out gutted the stage.More than 15,000 people were present when the blaze began, police said.
The fire started during a traditional performance, sending the 25,000 people in attendance at Girgaum Chowpatty beach fleeing, including high profile politicians and Indian cinema stars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, according to local media.
The week-long event is the result of a push started by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014 and part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives and a drive to attract foreign investors.
“A fire audit will ascertain reasons but I am sure it was not due to the sets,” he told PTI.
Additional Chief Secretary KP Bakshi said that a gas leak may have taken place due to pressure cylinders meant to light up firecrackers later.
Meanwhile, fire brigade officials said they would be probing all aspects, including finding out if there was a sabotage angle involved.
But event organiser Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd has refuted all allegations of negligence and said in a statement that prior to the event, all safety checks and audits were done. “All fire and safety norms prescribed were followed. We are grateful for the help from the Maharashtra government and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his team, who stayed at the venue right till the end to ensure the venue was evacuated and reviewed the site in detail post the fire was doused,” it said
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the incident. He said the rest of the programmes, which are part of the Make in India week, will not be affected. “There is no point in speculating the cause now. A comprehensive probe has been ordered. The roles and responsibility of those involved would be fixed,” he said.
He said that a detailed disaster management plan was kept ready and was reviewed four days back. This helped the disaster management team to act swiftly when the fire broke out. Four fire tenders were stationed near the stage.
The fire had broken out during the Maharashtra Night event at south Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty, gutting the entire stage on Sunday evening. There were no casualties. The fire started at 8.25 pm and was put out at 9.25 pm.