The four-storey building in which a fire broke out due to a spark from a short circuit on Wednesday, killing six employees, did not have an adequate fire safety system in place, the police said.
“The gate that leads to the terrace, on the third floor, was locked. As a result, employees couldn’t escape. Those who fled downstairs are safe but the six persons who tried to escape by running upstairs were burnt. If the gate had not been locked, six lives could have been saved,” Akshay Sharma, chief fire officer of Ghaziabad, said.
Officials said that even the basement, which is meant for car parking, was being used for storing electrical products.
A company that deals with electrical products had shifted into this newly-built building six months ago. Before granting permission to a company for occupying a building, the Noida authority conducts an inspection, which also includes a check of fire safety system.
However, Sheeshpal Kumar, a survivor, said that no water sprinkler functioned when a spark from a short circuit led to the fire.
Amit Mohan Prasad, the chief executive officer of the Noida authority said he has ordered a probe into the incident.
“I have ordered a probe into the incident. How was the building issued an occupancy certificate if the firefighting system was not in place?” he said.
Around 20 newly-built residential complexes in Noida that house thousands do not have fire systems in place and are running without obtaining a no-objection certificate from the fire department.
“Fire department and the Noida authority issued clearances without bothering about fire safety systems in the building. Officials who issued the OC should be punished because they are also responsible for the incident,” Ashish Kumar, an employee of the company, said.
There are 8,000 industrial units, small and large-scale, in Noida. However, sources said that the authorities do not take issuing fire clearances seriously.
Noida is home to around 1,200 highrise societies, but it does not have a 72-metre hydraulic machine to douse fires in tall towers. The Uttar Pradesh fire department had suggested that Noida should have a helicopter to douse fires, but the proposal was rejected by the Noida authority, citing financial issues.
“We called fire staff from Hapur and Ghaziabad to douse the fire as soon as possible,” said Aman Sharma, deputy director, Uttar Pradesh fire department.