A 25-year-old redeveloped residential building in Nallasopara (East) collapsed in the early hours of Wednesday. The building’s 22 residents were able to evacuate in time, and no one was injured.
The four-storeyed Safalya Sangali building at Majithia Park in Achole Road collapsed at 1.15am on Wednesday. The building had been redeveloped in 2009, but in 2018, major cracks had developed in parts of the structure.
The Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) had declared the building dangerous and unfit for residents due to safety issues and had issued evacuation notices to the flat owners two years ago. Around 15 families had moved out, but five families, consisting of 22 residents continued to reside in the building.
The building also housed 10 commercial shops which were shut after receiving the VVMC notices.
“We could not afford the huge rent in other buildings, and we were fighting a court case against Abhay Naik, the builder as he had done a shoddy job using bad quality building materials. He had also constructed some illegal structures without approval from the VVMC. However, when it went for redevelopment, the building was legal, and the Vasai civic body had also given approval,” said a resident of Safalya Sangali, on condition of anonymity.
A few of the residents had held a meeting on Tuesday evening after they noticed a large amount of fallen debris near the main gate, and they had decided to approach and complain to the Vasai civic body on Wednesday.
Around 11.15pm, the residents heard some sounds of falling rubble and thought a mild tremor had occurred. They found that some portions of the structure had fallen, and more deep cracks were visible. The panicked residents left their flats and stood inside the building compound.
Around 1am, one couple, Dayanandand Seema Deorukhkar, went to their fourth-floor flat to pick some petty cash and lock the apartment. Soon after they vacated the building and reached the gate of the compound at 1.15am, the structure collapsed.
The Vasai civic fire brigade arrived at the spot and started clearing the debris. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) may be called in for further help if required.
“A first information report (FIR) will be registered after the Vasai civic body informs us as it is the lookout of the civic authority,” said Vijaykant Sagar, additional superintendent of police (ASP), Vasai.
“Despite warning the residents to shift out of the ramshackle building, five families continued to stay while the other 15 flat owners moved out. We are clearing the debris, and in a day or two we will submit a report to the Tulinj police to register an FIR against the guilty persons, and no one will be spared,” said a Vasai civic body official.
The incident in Nallasopara comes just nine days after a five-storey building in Mahad, Raigad, collapsed, killing 16 people and injuring nine others.