A fire in the five-stories-high, Somaiya Bhavan in Fort spread to the 150-year-old Kitab Khana causing a lot of damage.
Officials confirmed that the fire started in the kitchen of the café and went on to Kitab Khana. At the time 30 people were present on the upper floor of the Somaiya Bhavan. They were immediately evacuated ensuring no loss of human life. The damage was contained to the café and half of the bookstore.
According to the officials, the fire damaged the books on the first floor and mezzanine floor. The wooden furniture, electric installation, and electrical wiring also suffered damage. The officials were called at 4.30 pm and after two hours and four fire engines, the situation was under control. The damage to the Kitab Khana is estimated to be around Rs 1cr, including the damage caused by the water of the fire brigade.
Kitab Khana is a beloved and iconic bookstore existing in Mumbai. The store is also world-famous for its 150-year-old existence. It had opened up in April after the government’s allowance but the sales were low because of the pandemic. The fire is an added cost to the store during these troubling times.