A mock drill organised by the department of fire services at a garment factory 18 km from the city turned into a mockery of a drill when a volunteer fell to her death after the rope tied around her waist snapped mid operation.
Nalina Reddy, 22, was an employee of the Bombay Rayon Fashion Limited in Yeshwantpur. After completing her masters in social work, Reddy had joined the factory as welfare officer one-and-a-half years ago.
On Friday evening, a mock fire drill was organised in the factory premises. The fire personnel were simulating an evacuation operation following a fire in the factory. First a male employee participated in the live demonstration, and all went off smoothly. Then it was Reddy’s turn. A rope was tied around her waist, and Reddy was being lowered from the third floor window.
Within seconds the rope snapped and Reddy hurtled to her death. She sustained severe head injuries, and though she was rushed to a nearby private hospital, she was declared dead.
“We were watching the mock drill. Suddenly, the rope snapped and Nalina fell. Everything happened within a fraction of a second,” said an eyewitness.
An officer of the fire services department said, “We regularly conduct mock drills, but this has never happened before.”
Director General of Police (Fire safety) AR Infant said, “There are some guidelines to conduct mock drills. An internal inquiry will be conducted and based on reports, further action will be taken.”
Kannan, the manager of the factory, said, “It was only after the incident that we came to know there was no proper equipment and they did not have safety nets in place. We have registered a complaint against fire department officials.”
Reddy’s brother Harish held the company and the fire department responsible for the accident. After the intervention of DG Infant, the company agreed to pay her father and brother R5 lakh compensation.