The rising mercury and frequent voltage fluctuations ensured that the emergency number of the Delhi Fire Services rang off the hook in the last one month.
According to officials, with calls reporting fires pouring in from every nook and corner of the city, May was the most hectic month this year.
So much so, that on one day the number of calls even touched 159.
This is more than the number of calls received on Diwali.Compared to May 2011, Delhi Fire Services received 380 more calls this May. This included 159 calls on May 31 alone.
The heat wave has turned the city into a tinderbox. Areas housing illegal godowns are most vulnerable to catching fire as they do not take permission to run large structures from small buildings.
For the city’s firemen, this means being on their toes 24x7 to douse fires. “Though it is quite natural for calls to increase every year, but we had not expected them to touch 159. One of the reasons for this is the high temperature clubbed with low humidity, which leads to fires. Our staff has been hard pressed during May,” said GC Mishra, chief fire officer, Delhi Fire Services.
According to officials, this has a ripple effect on firemen, who are on duty round-the-clock.
“The work has increased so much that sometimes when we get back home after attending a call, we have to rush back again. Not only this, sometimes while we are attending to one call, we are asked to rush to another spot,” said an official.
According to officials, during May, the frequency of fires that lasted longer was more than other months.
The fire, which broke out at the building housing Punjab National Bank on May 23, lasted for more than five hours.
Officials said that with a sizeable number of Delhi’s population living in a single room, the chances of a short-circuit leading to a fire had also increased.
“Fluctuations in voltage increase the chances of short-circuit, which we have found to be one of the major reasons for the fire incidents that took place in May,” said a senior official.