"Non-functioning” fire extinguishers failed to function as wires at the headquarters of the Municipal Corporation (MC) at Zone A building caught fire after sparking. The building lacks fire-safety certificate that is required as per norms.
The panic gripped among visitors and staff at the basement of the building when sparks started in the wires. The fire extinguishers, which were manufactured in 2011 and installed in the MC’s building, were not refilled or serviced timely as per sources. It seems the authorities have turned a blind eye over safety of the people in the building.
As soon as the smoke started coming out of basement on Tuesday afternoon, the people started running upstairs to avoid any mishap.
When inquired, HT found that the fire extinguishers were manufactured in 2011 but sources said that the pressure level of some of the extinguishers was not maintained as per norms.
According to the fire wing Ludhiana, the Municipal Corporation has no fire safety certificate while the civic body has responsibilities to ensure the norms in city.
It is pertinent to mention here that the wires stopped sparking as soon the power went off. But, the basement was filled with smoke and smell of burnt wires. The Suvidha Centers of MC is situated at the basement.
An employee of the MC said, “We had tried to douse the fire by using the extinguishers but they were not functioning. Thanks to God, the wires stopped sparking after five minutes otherwise the fire could have been spread in the basement.”
Gagandeep Singh, a visitor said, “We ran upstairs after hearing high sound created by the sparking wires. It is responsibility of the civic body to ensure safety of the building and it is discouraging if MC has neglected fire safety norms in its buildings.”
It was learnt that the wires started sparking due to overload as the heaters were being used in the various rooms at Zone A building. Executive engineer of Lights branch of MC, Balwinder Singh said that the wires were corrected and power was restored.
When contacted, assistant divisional fire officer, Bhupinder Singh said, “It is responsibility of MC to check the status of fire extinguishers. The pressure should be maintained by time to time inspection.”
On being asked, he said that the MC’s zone A building does not have fire safety certificate.