Five days on, fire at Noida plot under control, but still simmering
Chief fire officer Pradeep Kumar Chaubey said 30 vehicles of the fire department and at least 20 excavators were used to extinguish the fire
After burning for five straight days, the fire at a vacant plot in Noida Sector 32was finally brought under control on Monday, though smoke continued to billow from the spot throughout the day from still smouldering embers. Three fire tenders are on standby at the spot to tackle any flame that may rise again, said fire safety officials.
Chief fire officer Pradeep Kumar Chaubey said 30 vehicles of the fire department and at least 20 excavators were used to extinguish the fire. About 250 fire department personnel were deployed at the spot over the past five days in day and night shifts. The fire had reached 10 metres deep and had spread over an area of 1x2km.
At least at least two million liters of water was used over the past five days to douse the flames, he said.
“At least 30 fire tenders were on spot till Sunday night to bring the flames under control. Of them, at least 20 fire tenders had to be deputed to Phase-2 on Sunday evening as there was a major fire at another location. On Monday, we asked the Noida authority’s horticulture department to take charge and continue spraying water using water tankers,” said Chaubey.
As on Monday evening, three fire tenders are still at the spot to extinguish any flames that may resurface, as smoke is still rising from the plot.
Chaubey said the authority has dug two borewells in the area to continue spraying water.
“For want of wind, the fire is still smouldering below the surface even on Monday due to which smoke is billowing continuously. Using 30 fire tenders, over 700 water tankers and estimated one to two million litres of water has been sprayed in the past five days,” he said.
The fire broke out on Thursday, around 6pm, and continued to burn till Monday.
According to a Noida authority official, the plot belongs to the authority and was being used for decomposing horticulture waste.
“About 100 vehicles of the authority collect dry leaves from different areas and dump them at the plot. Then the leaves are covered with soil. However, that process did not happen in March and April. It seems that some miscreants may have smoked near the plot and carelessly thrown away a burning matchstick or cigarette butt triggering the fire,” said Anand Mohan, an official from the horticulture department, Noida authority..
Residents of Noida, however, is not placated and want the authority to be held responsible for the incident and the resultant pollution.
“The fire department personnel have been tirelessly working to douse the flames but officials of Noida authority need to be pulled up and held responsible for this incident. The dry leaves should have been taken care of by the officials considering that fire mishaps are more common during summer,” said Amit Gupta, a resident of Sector 77.
Residents of nearby sectors said after five days, an acrid smell lingers even inside their homes. “Residents have been complaining of their eyes watering and throats choking since Friday evening. Although the smoke has subsided, but the air is still stuffy. Most residents are not stepping out of their homes even on Monday,” said Mahipal Singh, Sector 35 residents’ welfare association.