"The residents were evacuated a long time ago from the structure, after which Mhada appointed a contractor to carry on the fix works", said Jivak Gadgemal, assistant municipal commissioner of "C" ward. The three were sent to JJ Hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival.
Khan, a scrap dealer, along with his son Mohammed, had gone to the Chhipi Chawl building to collect old iron rods minutes before the slab collapsed.
Firemen said while all those feared missing have been pulled out, "a fire engine and a rescue van are stationed at the spot as a precautionary measure since the authorities are demolishing the structure", said chief fire officer P Rahangdale. Of the four labourers trapped beneath the rubble, three bodies had been recovered on Friday. Meanwhile, search and rescue operation for two missing persons are underway.
A search and rescue operation for another worker is on, said an official from the disaster management cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The first body was found in the debris of the fourth floor, and the next two in second floor debris. Speaking to Mirror, MHADA's Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction board Chief Officer Sumant Bhange said, "As part of the building had become unsafe for living, we had evicted tenants from it in September this year". There were 41 tenants living in the building, 37 commercial and 4 residential.
Narrow lanes and congestion was hampering the work of fire brigade personnel at the site, he added further. Residents of neighbouring buildings were also asked to vacate them as they abutted this one. "Thus, removing out people from the debris has become hard".