Despite availability of fire hydrants, a source of water that enables firefighters to use municipal water supply to extinguish fire, these are not being put to use in case of any fire incident these days.
Fire officers and residents claim that these hydrants are not functioning properly due to low water pressure.
These hydrants were installed around 30 years ago in congested areas where fire tenders could not reach. Interestingly, these hydrants are checked ahead of Diwali every year.
As per claims of residents and fire wing employees, one of the hydrants was not found functioning when a fire broke out in a four-storey building near Daresi Ground on Thursday.
Seven fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the fire, but these hydrants were of no use.
The fire officials claimed that there was a need to upgrade them as they could not release water at high pressure.
During a visit to some of these congested areas of the city, the HT team found that these hydrants were only inspected once in a year that too near Diwali when the risk of fire incidents remain high.
According to residents, with passage of time, these hydrants are crying for the municipal corporation's immediate attention so they can be used to douse flames timely in case of a fire incident.
“One such hydrant system is installed outside my shop, but water pressure is too low now as compared to early years. Every year, it is inspected near Diwali, but so far it has never been used by the fire wing.
However, a fire had broken out in the past in the street behind my shop, but this system was not used due to low water pressure.
These hydrants should be upgraded at the earliest,” said Manik, who runs a shop in old Madhopuri area.
“There are many hydrants in the congested areas but water pressure is not up to the mark.
Earlier, stored water was supplied with which pressure level remained high. We also used to ask the employee concerned to block water supply of other areas to increase pressure in the area where a fire had broken out,” said a fire officer.
“Now, many of these hydrants are connected to tubewells and if power supply gets disrupted then we will face more trouble. There is also a need to ensure availability of generators to run tubewells in the absence of power so that continuous water can be supplied during an emergency. Also, these hydrants need to be upgraded,” he added.
When contacted, assistant divisional fire officer Bhupinder Singh claimed that he would conduct a survey on these hydrants and necessary steps would be taken.
On the other hand, zonal commissioner Kamlesh Bansal said the hydrants were working properly as they were connected with tubewells.
He assured that he would look into the complaint if any of the hydrants were not functioning properly.