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Nagpur house collapse toll is 12, may rise further



June 29, 2005 14:46 IST

The toll in Tuesday's house collapse in Nagpur has risen to 12, with authorities fearing that it may rise further.

Rescue workers recovered 11 bodies overnight from the debris of the building that collapsed after a devastating fire on Great Nag Road in Nagpur on Tuesday morning. One body had been recovered on Tuesday evening.

Hectic rescue operations are being carried out at the site even 24 hours after the mishap, with several men and heavy machinery having been pressed into service to sift through the debris and locate survivors.

Hopes of finding survivors had faded as rescue operations continued throughout the day on Tuesday and stretched into the night. The worst fears were confirmed after the recovery of more bodies from the tangled mass of metal and concrete.

At least 15 men were feared to have been trapped in the basement when the top three floors of the palatial house, belonging to Shyam Lokhande, a scrap dealer, came crashing down around 11 am on Tuesday after a fire had raged in the building's basement for over six hours on Monday night.

Plastic scrap kept in the basement of the building had caught fire after a suspected electric short circuit. The ground and the two upper floors of the building came crashing down after the fire was doused when a cooking gas cylinder burst.

Fire brigade sources said the intense heat generated by the fire weakened the pillars and beams of the building, and the impact of the cylinder blast brought the structure down like a pack of cards.

Lokhande had stocked plastic waste in the 8,000 square feet basement of the building. Nine members of Lokhande's family were in the building when the basement caught fire, but were evacuated to safety by fire-fighters.

Meanwhile, the police have booked Lokhande's sons Sudarshan, Sunil and Suryakant for 'failing to take adequate safety and fire-fighting measures' in the building where plastic waste had been stored in large quantities.

The police have held Lokhande's three sons responsible for causing 'extensive damage to life and property because of their gross negligence', and said they were investigating whether the family had the necessary permissions to stock plastic waste in residential premises.

Action will be taken after ascertaining the facts, they said.

Central India News Service

 


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