The fire that gutted a 2,000 sq-ft flat in Kanchan Ganga building in Andheri on Thursday brings to the fore how unprepared high-rise buildings are to deal with untoward incidents like fires.
Fire officials said although the internal fire-fighting system of the 17-storeyed building was in place, it was not functional. This delayed the fire-fighting process.
The official said the alternate current set, which needs to be connected to the system at all times was not available. After the fire, the main electric current was turned off so the system didn’t work. Also, the riser system was not functional as the overhead tank connected to it was empty.
Officials added that the Andheri building would be issued a notice under the Maharashtra fire prevention and safety act and would be asked to rectify all lapses. According to the fire department, around 70 per cent high-rises (mostly in the suburbs) have fire-fighting systems that are either not maintained properly or are just faulty.
According to norms, high-rises should have a functional riser system, a staircase of 1.5 metres, an emergency staircase, a refuge floor and ventilation in the lobby.
“All of these were missing in the Andheri building as it was built in the 1980s when these rules didn’t exist. But, an internal fire fighting system has been made compulsory for all high-rises in the city,” a senior fire official said. According to unofficial estimates, there are around 3,500 high-rises in the city that are seven storeys or higher.