Barely six months after a fire broke out in the state headquarters at Mantralaya, the city continues to reel under the fear of similar outbreaks, which could endanger several lives and property.
According to data provided by the Mumbai Fire Brigade, 634 structures in the city including government office buildings, hospitals and high-rises continue to flout firefighting norms as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006. However, only four high-rise buildings have been prosecuted by fire officials so far.
Attributing the low-compliance of fire safety norms to the indifference of citizens, chief fire officer Suhas Joshi said, “Residents prioritise their spending for house interiors. They should instead focus on installing fire-safety equipment, especially in high-rises. Occupants should follow this as internal firefighting equipment needs to be robust and in working condition in case of fire.”
Since January, the Mumbai Fire Brigade has inspected 1,852 buildings. According to the data, of these, non-compliance notices were sent to 872 buildings including hospitals, high-rises and nursing homes. The notices were sent on the basis of absence of firefighting equipment including sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire pumps and service ducts. In response to the notice, while the occupants of 237 structures submitted a compliance report, occupants of four high-rises were prosecuted.
“These inspections, which are carried out regularly by 70 fire officials nominated for the purpose are an attempt to make people realise the importance of fire safety norms. The onus continues to lie on citizens to carry out six-monthly audits and submit reports to the fire brigade,” said PS Rahangdale, deputy chief fire officer.The fire brigade is yet to begin its inspections in heritage structures that remain more prone to fires owing to old electrical installations. "Government buildings including heritage structures are being inspected by us, but we are yet to begin inspections in enlisted heritage structures," said a fire official.