As many as 170 students of Government Primary School for Girls, Jawahar Nagar, had a narrow escape when a fire broke out in the midday meal kitchen around 11 am on Monday.
Members of the market association doused the flames with the help of fire extinguisher, averting a big tragedy.
The incident took place as the pipe of one to the four cylinders in the kitchen was leaking which caught fire. Within minutes, the fire spread in the kitchen creating panic among students and teachers who then demolished the window mesh and shifted the students to the adjoining Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, Jawahar Nagar.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Amarjit Kaur, in-charge of Government Primary School for Girls, said, “The cooks were preparing midday meal when the pipe of a cylinder caught fire as it was leaking. We decided to shift students to the senior secondary school. As there is only one exit in our school, so the teachers demolished the mesh to make passage for students.”
“We called at the fire station at 11.10am and the fire brigade reached the school at 11.45am. We broke all flower pots to use the sand to douse the fire. However, by that time the members of the market association brought fire extinguishers to douse the flames and shifted all the cylinders from the kitchen to the verandah on the first floor. There was no loss of life and property.
However, we called the police for help, but nobody reached the spot.”
Jagpreet Singh, a member of the market association, said, “I called the fire station to inform them about the incident, but they kept asking me about my details and mobile number. However, the fire brigade reached the school 35 minutes after of the incident. Till then we had already controlled the fire.”
Denying the allegations, Bhupinder Singh, assistant divisional fire officer, said, “As soon as we received a call from the school, we rushed a fire brigade to the spot. We asked questions to the person who was calling to know that exact location of the spot.”
It has been learnt that Government Primary School for Girls, Jawahar Nagar, has only one fire extinguisher for 170 students. However, HT had earlier reported that there were no fire extinguishers at government primary schools. There are 1,006 government primary schools in Ludhiana district, but most of them lack in safety measures. All these schools prepare midday meal but most of them are without fire-safety equipment and schools that have the equipment have not got them refilled.
When contacted, state education minister Sikander Singh Maluka said, “There is a need to provide fire extinguishers in government schools. I will make it sure that we provide this equipment to schools as early as possible. Safety of students is our top priority.”