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Fire at Mumbai’s building raises concerns over preparedness of high-rises

According to the fire brigade, the building’s structure proved detrimental to firefighting.

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2018 23:41 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Crystal Towers,Mumbai,Mumbai building fire
Fire breaks out at Crystal tower at Parel in Mumbai on August 22.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

The fire at Mumbai’s Crystal Towers that claimed four lives has once again turned the spotlight on fire safety in high-rises in the city.

The issue of preparedness cropped up only two months ago, when a major fire in the 33-storey Beaumonde Towers in Prabhadevi exposed the need for strict implementation of fire safety rules in buildings. A robust internal fire-fighting system helped avert a tragedy.

On the other hand, the 16-storey Crystal Towers flouted mandatory fire safety measures, fire brigade officials found. The building was found to not have a firefighting system, fire alarms, and fire exits. Despite being a high-rise, it did not have a refuge area. Flats were constructed on the floor that was designed to be a refuge area as per the original plan of the building.

“When the building’s internal firefighting system does not work, we have to rely completely on the fire brigade’s equipment. The major challenge on Wednesday was to carry all fire fighting resources to the upper floors,” said P Rahangdale, chief fire officer said.

According to the fire brigade, the building’s structure proved detrimental to firefighting. An open electrical duct in the centre of the building proved hazardous as it acted as a chimney to carry smoke to the upper floors of the building.

R Chaudhari, deputy chief fire officer said, “Builders and residents taking fire safety lightly are risking their lives.” Prakash Devdas, president of Fire Brigade Officer’s association said, “The concern over fire safety of tall buildings is here to stay, as Mumbai will see more tall buildings in the future. There is a need to ensure strict implementation of fire safety rules by the administration, such as the Fire safety act of 2006, which has barely been implemented so that buildings are forced to be fire compliant.”

First Published: Aug 22, 2018 23:13 IST