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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Old buildings to have fire safety audits

Bhavika Jain, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 21, 2011
First Published: 00:53 IST(21/2/2011) | Last Updated: 00:54 IST(21/2/2011)

The Bombay House fire, which killed three employees and injured two others on February 9, has served as a cruel wake-up call for the civic body.

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With the city witnessing a steep rise in such incidents in the recent past has forced the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) to step in to enforce mandatory precautionary measures to protect heritage buildings.

Currently, there are about 588 structures on the city’s heritage list.

The MHCC will soon write to the municipal commissioner, asking him to instruct the chief fire officer (CFO) and ward officers to undertake fire safety audits in all the listed heritage buildings.

It will also ask owners of these listed heritage buildings to take necessary precautions.

“We have been discussing this issue with the committee members for a while, but after the Bombay house incident, we will soon be writing to the commissioner so that these incidents don’t happen again,” said Dinesh Afzulpurkar, chairman of MHCC.

Heritage experts say many heritage buildings on the DN Road and in the Fort precinct have poor electric wiring, which makes them vulnerable to short circuit and fire.

An example of this is the recent fire at the Fort House, which was the residence of Parsi philanthropist Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy.

“Most of the owners of such heritage buildings couldn’t take care to change faulty electric wires, which are the reason for these fire, quite common and which damage these old and beautiful buildings,” said a heritage committee member.

He also added that several graded buildings have also been altered to make way for illegal additions, which also further add to the risk, these buildings if inspected periodically will help reduce such incidents.

They also added that unless heritage buildings are being used as offices like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters or the Central Bank building the fire safety apparatus is also not paid attention to.


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