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Mumbai got 3,987 fire calls in 10 months of 2018, lowest in 3 years

Major incidents were reported in December; fire officials say they are unsure of the cause of spike

mumbai Updated: Jan 01, 2019 08:26 IST
mumbai,fire brigade,fire
A fire broke out in a cloth dying factory in Saravali village at Kongaon MIDC in Bhiwandi on Monday. The fire was doused after 8 hours. No casualties or injuries were reported.(HT Photo)

The Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) recorded 3,987 fire calls from March to December 2018, the least recorded in three years. According to the data, 41 people were reported dead while 343 were injured in fire accidents. In addition, 27 firemen were injured while on duty.

From January 2017 to December 2017, 4,927 fire calls, 55 fatalities and 219 injuries were reported. As per the information, 5,212 fire calls, 47 deaths and 128 injuries were reported from 2015-16; and 5,021 fire calls, 34 deaths and 115 injuries were reported from 2016-17.

Some of the major fires this year were witnessed in December. This includes the Aarey forest fire on December 4.

On December 17, a fire at Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Kamgar Hospital, Andheri, killed six people, including a two-month-old baby. Around 147 others were injured in the fire. On December 27, a fire broke out at Sargam Society, Tilak Nagar, killing five people, all senior citizens. On December 29, a fire at Sadhana Mills Compound, behind Worli’s BDD Chawls, injured 16 firemen. On December 29, 2017, a major fire at Kamala Mills – killing 14 and injuring 55 – was reported. Fire officials have said that there is no specific reason to explain why fire outbreaks are more frequent this time of the year.

“We cannot say there is a trend of more fires in December. Rather than the fire, it is the illegalities in the infrastructure that leads to the deaths,” said P S Rahangdale, chief fire officer. “For example, the fire at BeauMonde Towers in Prabhadevi broke out on the 33rd floor. However, no deaths were reported since the building had a glass facade and a fire compliant system was in place.”

“Meanwhile, in the case of the SRA building in Andheri or the recent fire at Tilak Nagar, the norms were not followed despite sending them repeated notices,” he added.

377 premises checked in 4 days, 31 found flouting safety norms

A recent inspection carried out by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) found that some of the establishments that are flouting fire safety norms include Mafatlal Gymkhana at Girgaum Chowpaty, Catholic Gymkhana at Marine Drive, Bar Stock Exchange at Kamala Mills in Lower Parel, Maratha Mandal in Mulund, and Neelyog Mall at Ghatkopar, according to data from the civic body.

While MFB said that Wilson Gymkhana was also included in the list of establishments, gymkhana officials have said that no inspection was conducted at their premises. P Rahangdale, chief fire officer, said, “We tied up with civic ward officers and inspected malls, multiplexes, theatres, food joints, and banquet halls across the city. This was done on the orders of the municipal commissioner, in preparation for New Year’s Eve celebrations.”

According to the fire brigade, 31 of the 377 establishments that inspected from December 27 to December 30, were found to be flouting norms and appropriate action. It said that it had demolished illegal and fire non-compliant extensions at two premises, removed extensions and encroachments blocking exits at 15 premises, and seized fire-hazardous goods from 123 establishments.

A spokesperson from Bar Stock Exchange said, “After the inspection, BSE complied with the fire safety norms based on the officers’ suggestions. We were asked to install additional sprinklers and smoke detectors in the restaurant. Some remaining paper work will be done on Tuesday.”

A spokesperson from Mafatlal Gymkhana said, “There were three extra cylinders on our premises that were confiscated by the fire brigade. Some of our paper work, which is in place, was not handy. We couldn’t produce it during the inspection, so we have been asked to produce them in the coming week.”

However, a spokesperson from Catholic Gymkhana refused to comment on the issue. “Presently, we cannot comment,” the spokesperson said.

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 23:33 IST