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Father, Son Builders Held in Collapse

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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Authorities in Mumbra, India, have arrested two builders of a doomed residential complex that collapsed Saturday (Sept. 21), killing three—the region's sixth fatal building collapse in six months.

The five-story Banu Complex, located in a greater Mumbai area known as Mumbra, caved in about 8 a.m. Saturday.

Aman Qazi / Wikimedia Commonas / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Officials in Mumbra, India, near Mumbai, say that as much as 80 percent of building stock has been constructed illegally. Saturday's fatal building collapse was the sixth in six months.

News reports say chunks of concrete were falling off the building’s walls hours before the deadly collapse, but the cause of the accident has not been determined.

A merchant from a building nearby told that he had heard a “loud bang” and that the entire area was overcome with fog for at least a half hour.

Builders in Custody

Mumbra police reportedly registered a case against four people on Sunday (Sept. 22).

Two of those arrested were builders Mohammed Akil Shaikh, 63, and his son Shakil Shaikh, 41. The other two detained were landlords Hamida Banu Manzoor Khan and Farzana Iqbal, according to DNAIndia.

At least one report said that Mohammed’s wife had also been detained as part of the investigation.

Other details on the case and investigation were not immediately available.

Victims, Rescue Operations

Four people were in the building at the time of the collapse; but as many as 150 others had evacuated after noticing the structure giving way in the early morning hours, reports said.

Local news reports identified the three victims as Javed, Moin, and Hanif Qureshi. Their bodies were recovered Monday (Sept. 23).  A fourth person, Sameera Kazi, was rescued from the debris Saturday, reports relate.

Officials spent nearly 20 hours working to rescue those trapped; however, the building’s “poor accessibility” hampered those efforts, reports said, citing officials. The building was constructed along narrow pathways and opposite a railway station, reports note.

The age of the structure was unclear. Some reports indicated that it was 15 years old, others, eight.

Images from the scene of the tragedy are available on the Indian Express website.

Substandard Construction

Residents of the Banu Complex allege that the builders used substandard construction materials and that recent rains weakened the building’s foundation, the Mumbai Mirror reported.

Such allegations are all too familiar in area. In Mumbra alone, officials say that as much as 80 percent of the building stock has been constructed illegally, reports note.

“Every building in Mumbra is dangerous, and we never know what awaits us the next morning,” the municipal commissioner of Thane district, which includes Mumbra, has told reporters.

Six Months, Six Deadly Collapses

Saturday's collapse was the sixth major incident of its type in the region in as many months, reported.

“In April, a building collapsed in Lucky Compound in Mumbra, killing 75 and making it the worst such disaster in the state's history,” the outlet reported.

“In June, four more buildings crashed in Mahim (10 dead), Mumbra (10 dead), Dahisar (seven dead) and Bhiwandi (three dead).”


Tagged categories: Building codes; Certifications and standards; Construction; Contractors; Fatalities; Health and safety; Maintenance + Renovation; Residential Construction

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