Pirangut industrial estate with over 200 firms has no fire station
Pune: The major fire incident at SVS Aqua Technologies that claimed 17 lives on Monday has exposed the severe lack of fire safety measures in the industrial zone of Pirangut-Ghoatawade, around 40 kilometres from Pune.
The Pirangut area that houses over 200 small and medium industrial units with at least 10 of them engaged in producing chemicals does not have a fire station. Locals said that fire tenders had to be called in from other stations and it delayed the dousing exercise.
They claimed that the blaze in the chemical manufacturing firm could be controlled only after two hours. The victims, including 15 women, were charred to death .
“There is no allocated space right now (for the fire station) and we have demanded it from the district collector. There was a provision for a fire station in the DP (development plan), but we have to demanded it from the district on an urgent basis. We have identified one location, but it was taking time. After yesterday’s incident, everybody wants a fire station so we will ask for that land,” said Suhas Diwase, chief executive officer, Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), under whose jurisdiction the area comes.
PMRDA depends on three fire stations with latest one being Wagholi, and two others at Marunji and Nanded City.
The nearest PMRDA fire station to the Pirangut-located SVS Aqua Technologies is the Life Republic fire station in Marunji. However, geographically, the nearest fire station is one at Hinjewadi Phase 3 under Pimpri-Chinchwad fire department.
Six fire brigade vehicles helped in the rescue operation, including units sourced from Hinjewadi Phase 3, Wagholi, Marunji, and MIDC. Around 50 officials were involved in the four-hour operation to douse the fire.
“The fire started around 3:30pm and the fire brigade arrived around 4:15pm. I managed to run out of the company, but my wife could not,” said Baban Margale (34), who lost his wife Mangal Margale (29) in the blaze.
The committee report pointed out various shortcomings in the company’s operation, including lack of NOC from the fire department and fire safety measures at the production unit.
Pirangut industrial zone has many small and medium size industrial units. Though the Pirangut Industry Association could not give an exact number, but the association’s general secretary Raman Govitrikar said that the Pirangut-Ghotawade Phata industrial zone has 10-15 chemical units among 200-250 small and medium sized industrial units.
“A fire on a large scale had broken out at Vulkan Tech in March 2020, but no casualty was reported. We started raising our long-standing demand for a fire station since then before the lockdown probably slowed things. Now a fire brigade station and basic necessities for industry - water, electricity, and roads - needs to be given to this area. Whether it comes from gram panchayat, PMRDA, or the state government is up to them,” said Govitrikar.