70% fire incidents due to short circuit; BMC wants housing societies to conduct electrical audit
After the level-4 fire at 60 storeyed Avighna Park, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants housing societies in the city to conduct electrical audit
After the level-4 fire at 60 storeyed Avighna Park, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants housing societies in the city to conduct electrical audits. According to the civic body, 70% of fire incidents are due to electrical short circuits.
The BMC on Wednesday said they will write to the public work department (PWD)’s electrical division to develop a mechanism to regulate housing societies to conduct electrical audits. However, the civic body officials said that the Maharashtra Fire Act does not have a provision for mandatory electrical audits.
According to officials from the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB), in case of fire at One Avighna Park, the fire started in a video doorbell due to short-circuit and later spread to other areas. The exact cause will be known after a thorough investigation, said MFB officers. The officer added, “In 70% of the cases, fire is due to short-circuit.”
Ashwini Bhide, additional municipal commissioner of the BMC informed the standing committee, “There is no mechanism for having societies conduct electrical audits. We are in communication with the state government to develop a regulatory mechanism for the same. We are also reviewing fire safety in hospitals and in the malls of the city.”
Bhide added, “In case of high-rises also we have been conducting fire drills and inspections regularly and taking all appropriate steps to ensure there is zero-tolerance for fire safety,” an officer said.
According to BMC officials, the MFB in the past three months have conducted fire drills at 52 high-rises and inspected 1,526 buildings in the past 20 months. Notices have been issued to 327 buildings, while 78 buildings have complied with violations, 109 are in the stage of compliance and prosecution against three housing societies is under process.
Further, the BMC’s standing committee on Wednesday also cleared a proposal of ₹3.15 crore for the procurement of 24 fire bikes for the city. According to BMC officials, the fire bikes will help firefighting in congested areas like chawls and slums. These fire bikes will be added to the fire-fighting fleet of the MFB.
However, corporators across the party line asked the BMC administration to ensure that firefighting equipment is efficiently used. Ravi Raja, leader of Opposition in the BMC and Congress corporator said, “The standing committee should be informed on how these bikes will be used, where they will be parked followed by how many litres of water will be stored in it?”
Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator in the BMC said, “Such flowery words are used and such proposals are brought in the standing committee, but we should also look how useful these modern equipment are? Earlier, we brought robots and drones. but we all know how much use they have been. We are not against modernisation but there should be an efficient use of the resources.”
Bhide said, “We do understand that there are challenges in fire-fighting. The response time of our fire brigade is 20 minutes in peak hours, which ideally should be around six-seven minutes, as per the Central government norms. However, despite this, let me assure you that Mumbai Fire Brigade is the most technologically equipped. We have 35 fire stations and 18 mini fire stations, and we are in the process to have more mini fire stations. These fire bikes will in a way help the fire brigade improve a lot of things when it comes to responding to fire incidents.”