Mumbai fire survivor: People were running over me

MUMBAI: Fire swept through a rooftop restaurant in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai in the early hours yesterday, killing at least 14 people, most of them women attending a birthday party, including the celebrant who had just turned 28, the police and family said.

The fire department received a call about the blaze in a commercial building in the Kamala Mills district around 3am, an official said.

''The fire brigade and police are investigating the cause of the fire, but we still do not know how it started,'' a senior police officer told Reuters.

Kamala Mills is home to several corporate offices and is a major night life district.

The fire started at 1 Above, a popular bar and restaurant on the top level, which engulfed the whole building in less than 30 minutes, media reported. At least 21 people are injured.

Local media reported that a false ceiling collapsed in the four-storey building, trapping people inside as they tried to escape.

By the time the fire was extinguished, a reporter at the scene said the rooftop where the party was taking place had been gutted, with blackened ice buckets and ashtrays strewn around.

One woman, who said she was in the building, described the desperate scenes. ''There was a stampede
and someone pushed me,'' Ms Sulbha Arora said on Twitter. ''People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames. Still don't know how I got out alive.'' Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was ''anguished by the fire in Mumbai''. ''My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly.'' — AFP, REUTERS