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Faulty wiring behind 69% of 50,000 fires in Mumbai in past decade, data reveals

Minister Ranjit Patil provided figures after calling-attention motion in legislative council

mumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2018 23:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai fires,Ranjit Pati,Nationalist Congress Party
Around 1,116 fires were caused due to gas leakage and 14,329 incidents were attributed to other causes.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Incidents of fire have led to the loss of more than 600 lives and damages worth ₹110.42 crore in the last decade. Close to 69% of the 50,000 incidents of fire in Mumbai during this time were due to faulty wiring, which can be detected and fixed if buildings conduct the regular safety audits required by law. Minister of state for urban development Ranjit Patil provided these figures on Monday while responding to a calling-attention motion tabled in the state legislative council by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, Hemant Takle.

Takle had raised the calling attention motion to ask whether the fire that gutted around 70 hutments at Lalmati slum near Bandra Reclamation in October may have been deliberately triggered. “In the 10 years between 2008 and 2018, 49,391 fires were reported, and over 33,000 or 68.72% were caused because of short circuit,” Patil said. Around 1,116 fires were caused due to gas leakage and 14,329 incidents were attributed to other causes. Out of the total incidents of fire, 3,151 occurred in slums.

Former Mumbai chief fire officer Pratap Karguppikar said that the numbers showed a lack of attention to building maintenance. “There is a law in the National Building Code of India. As safety audit has to be done every two years by the housing societies. Nobody does it because there is no strict penal action against it,” he said.

Karguppikar, who spent three decades in the fire service, also lamented the absence of follow-up investigations. “Even [the] fire brigade does not carry out a certificate investigation. It is convenient for everyone to squarely blame short circuits —for the fire service and the insurance companies. None of these agencies who blame defective electric circuits can prove it fully. No sample [from the incident site] is taken and an electrical expert [conducting] an investigation, this does not happen.”

Earlier, this month a fire broke out in an eight-storey SRA building in which two died. In August, four died when a fire broke out in a multi-storeyed building in Parel. In both cases, the Mumbai Fire Brigade concluded short circuits had caused the fires.

First Published: Nov 26, 2018 23:31 IST