Mumbai high-rise fire: New Development Plan mandates evacuation lifts in skyscrapers
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Mumbai high-rise fire: New Development Plan mandates evacuation lifts in skyscrapers

These are the rules spelled out in the new Development Control and Promotional Regulation 2034.

mumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2018 11:10 IST
Mumbai,BMC,fire evacuation lifts
A fire, which broke out at a Mumbai highrise on Wednesday, charred the top three floors. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

A day after fire brigade officials struggled to access the top three floors of BeauMonde building at Prabhadevi on Wednesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now made it mandatory for buildings with more than 22 floors to install fire evacuation lifts and fire check floor to facilitate rescue operations.

These are the new rules spelled out in the new Development Control and Promotional Regulation (DCPR) 2034.

“Once the DCPR 2034 is approved, all upcoming highrises will have to install external evacuation lifts. Otherwise, the fire brigade will not approve an NOC,” said civic chief Ajoy Mehta. According to the DCPR, the fire check floor shall be provided at every 70 meters level or 22nd floor. The entire floor shall have fire drenchers/sprinklers. It is also mandatory for owners to keep the area clean and free of encumbrances and encroachments. This floor will be an addition to the refuge area.

The lifts must have additional power backup, fire-resistant cabins and glass, which will help firemen reach to the affected floors and rescue victims. “The lifts should reach the top floor from ground level within a minute,” reads DCPR 2034. Residents can use the lifts on regular basis, so that it’s maintained. They shall have a carrying capacity of 8 people or 545 kg.

The move gains significance in wake of Wednesday’s fire at the high-rise in Prabhadevi, where 20 out of 60 firemen had to climb 33 floors with heavy hose pipe. Currently, the fire brigade has 90-metre hydraulic ladders that can go up to 30 floors. However, as it was experienced in the BeauMonde case, the ladders were rendered unusable as there were structural restrictions. DCPR has also made provisions of fire escape chutes and lowering devices for operation in skyscrapers.

FAMILIES MOVE TO ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION

After the fire charred the top three floors of the 33-storey BeauMonde high-rise (B wing) in Prabhadevi on Wednesday, around 60 families have moved to alternative accommodations for at least a week as power and water connections have been cut.

“Most families in B wing have a second flat in the city and have already moved there for some time, while others are staying in hotels till all formalities are completed and power connection restored,” said a resident of the society.

The families were on Thursday seen returning to their apartment to collect their belongings. They were forced to climb up stairs as elevators were not operational owing to power cut.

The common areas of all floors are flooded with water and muck owing to Wednesday’s firefighting. One of the security guards said cleaning of all floors will take some time.

The fire had started on the 32nd floor around 2.10pm on Wednesday afternoon, and spread to the top floor as well as the one below. It was doused by 9.40pm, nearly eight hours after it began. Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone owns a flat in the building. Two firefighters were injured during the cooling operation.

Meanwhile, the fire brigade has started a preliminary investigation and suspects that the fire was caused owing to a faulty air conditioner.

Deputy chief fire officer R Chaudhari said: “The fire investigation officer will start the probe on Thursday, which will involve talking to witnesses and inspecting the site. It takes an average of eight days to submit a report.”

A senior fire official said, “Now, the society will have to get its power connection checked by a licensed electrician and submit a certificate to that effect to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) to get electricity restored. Also, power has to be restored for the rest of the building, excluding the top flats where the fire broke out and that will take time.”

Officials from BEST, insurance companies, police and fire brigade visited the building on Thursday.

Residents and the security staff gave their statements to the police and fire brigade officials.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 11:05 IST