More bodies found in huge Mumbai fire

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iol pic wld India Shanty Fire~5

AP

An Indian shouts for water as a shanty town is engulfed in flames in New Delhi, India.

The death toll from a massive fire at the state government headquarters in Mumbai rose to five on Friday, reports said, as rescue workers found more bodies in the devastated building.

Firefighters battled for hours to control the blaze that broke out on Thursday afternoon in the southern business district and quickly spread from the fourth floor to the seventh, before it was finally doused early the following day.

Five bodies have now been recovered, a hospital dean told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, while one government official is in a critical condition. About 16 people were injured in the blaze.

While most workers were able to escape, firefighters had to save 65 people trapped on the fifth and sixth floors as clouds of thick smoke billowed across the city. The cooling operation is expected to take another two days.

The building is the headquarters of the government of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's office was among those damaged in the blaze. Thousands of others work in the complex.

Chavan, who announced a crime branch probe into the incident, chaired a special cabinet meeting Friday to review the crisis, PTI said.

Amid concerns that critical documents would be lost, he said hundreds of thousands of files been scanned, while data on hard disks of damaged computers would be retrieved.

An electrical short-circuit was initially cited as a likely cause of the blaze. - Sapa-AFP


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