Kamala Mills: Fire at Mumbai complex kills 15 people

Media caption, Rooftop fire engulfs Mumbai Kamala Mills building

A massive late-night fire that broke out at a Mumbai complex has killed at least 15 people, officials said.

The blaze erupted just after midnight at a building in the popular Kamala Mills restaurant and shopping compound. It engulfed the structure within 30 minutes, local media reported.

More people have been injured in the blaze, with several being treated in hospital.

It is not yet known what caused the fire at the 1 Above rooftop restaurant.

Local media reported that an artificial ceiling made of bamboo collapsed, trapping people inside as they tried to escape.

According to the Times of India, many of the guests tried to seek shelter in the bathroom and were trapped there. The paper also cites a hospital doctor saying that all the deaths were due to suffocation.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, The blaze is thought to have started on the rooftop

TV and social media footage showed firefighters and rescue teams at the scene, with the top of the building consumed by flames and plumes of smoke.

Most of the casualties were women attending a party. A 28-year-old woman who was celebrating her birthday died in the fire, her grandfather told Reuters news agency.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire and have filed preliminary charges against the restaurant's owners.

'Narrow escape'

BBC Gujarati's editor Ankur Jain was dining in the same restaurant when the fire broke out. Here is his account of the incident:

"It was a happy evening which turned into the scariest night for me. I was at the restaurant with my sister and friends when we heard someone screaming, 'Run, there is a fire'. Within seconds, there was a stampede and the fire engulfed the whole restaurant before anyone could realise what went wrong.

"The way to the fire exit was among the first places to catch fire. We managed to escape but not everyone could. We could hear blasts on the rooftop while we were running down the stairs."

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.

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Kamala Mills is a refurbished industrial compound and houses several upscale restaurants, bars, offices and hotels.

It is also home to several media outlets with a number of national news channels affected by the fire, including Times Now, Mirror Now and ET Now.

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