A 78-year-old polio afflicted woman, who was lying on her bed at her second floor flat in Soonawala building in Tardeo, died on Tuesday morning after the flooring gave way and she fell to the ground floor, smashing the first floor’s ceiling as well. She was rushed to Bhatia Hospital but died there, said the Gamdevi police.
Assistant inspector Sudhir Dalvi, who is probing the accidental death case, identified the deceased as Homai Bharucha, a resident of Sona building at Parsi Colony, Tardeo. "Bharucha, who was undergoing treatment for sometime, was lying on her bed. Her son, daughter in-law and granddaughter were in another room when the incident took place. The family members ran out when they heard a heavy thud. They found a bleeding Bharucha and rushed her to the nearby Bhatia Hospital. She was declared dead," said Dalvi.
He added that a domestic help, Veena (40), who was in the kitchen of the first floor tenant during the incident, also fell and landed on the ground floor. "She suffered minor injuries," added Dalvi. "Luckily, no one was present on the ground floor. A portion of this 80-year-old building has been evacuated for repairs," said Dalvi. Bharucha’s body was sent for a post-mortem to JJ Hospital.
"Soonawala was not on the list of cessed buildings declared dangerous by a survey carried out by Mhada. The housing authority had repaired a portion of the building 15 years ago. Though it is nearly 80 years old, the building appears to be in a good condition to the naked eye, but one cannot know the internal problems of drainage or seepage which may have weakened some building portions,” said Mohan Thombre, chief officer of Mhada’s Mumbai Building Repair and Reconstruction Board. A Mhada team will inspect the building for the next two days to determine the cause of the slab collapse.
Two years ago, Mhada had inspected the building and had initiated the process for carrying out minor repairs. But, the tenants refused to have Mhada carry out repairs. Three months ago, the tenants had once again approached Mhada to carry out repairs. "We had sent our architect to inspect the building, who was to submit his report when this fatal incident occurred,” said Thombre.