Firefighters continue to face risk without proper equipment

  • Harshraj Singh, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2016 13:51 IST
As firemen lack advanced lights and other equipment, they face difficulty in dousing fire. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

The recent fire incidents at various places in the city have exposed the ill-equipped fire wing of municipal corporation (MC), as the government has failed to provide equipment required to douse fire.

As the firemen lacked advanced lights and other equipment, they faced difficulties to enter inside Mohandai Oswal Hospital’s basement where dense smoke had engulfed the area after a fire a week ago.

Though flames were doused with hard efforts of the fire wing, the firemen had no advanced torches to see through the smoke.

Not only advanced lights, the fire wing also has a shortage of helmet lamps. Moreover, not all firefighters have advanced safety kits.

Despite several requests by the fire wing authorities, the government has failed to fulfil the requirements. The department has only 14 old fire tenders, and many of them are not in good condition.

Sub fire officer Rajinder Sharma said, “We work under tough conditions. If we get advanced equipment, it will be a big relief for us.”

Remembering the night when fire broke out at the hospital, he said, “It was difficult to see and judge the condition inside the hospital’s basement as acid was everywhere on the floor. We installed fans to exhaust the smoke. Only after that we could douse the fire.”

A fireman said, “All firefighters were not wearing gear due to which some of them suffered skin irritation. However, the hospital staff was helping us in the operation to douse the flames. If we had advanced torches, the operation to douse flames could have been finished in lesser time.”

Last week, a fire broke out at a knitwear factory on Rahon Road, but fire wing made efforts to douse the fire without equipment. The fire department also has a shortage of hydraulic cutters. Besides, fire tenders were called from Khanna, Baddowal, Samrala and other stations, which are already facing shortage of fire tenders.

Every year in summer, many fire incidents occur in the city and firemen are forced to work with no proper safety gear. Besides, loosely hanging high-tension wires in some areas add to the problem, as these may lead to short-circuit.

Assistant divisional fire officer Bhupinder Singh said, “We have been writing to the government to provide us required equipment. These should be immediately provided keeping in view the safety of firemen.”

Cannot enter narrow streets

Fire tenders are unable to enter inside the congested areas like Dal Bazaar, Gur Mandi, Pindi Street, Talab Bazaar, Namak Mandi, Gandhi Nagar Market and other Old City areas due to narrow streets. Fire wing staff generally uses long water pipes for sprinkling water to douse the flames in such areas. But, the water pipes being used by the wing have leakages due to which it becomes difficult to douse fire.

Entering narrow streets becomes difficult for fire tenders in an emergency situation. (Sikander Singh Chopra/HT Photo)

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