Fire in high-rise, residents allege faulty equipmentUpdated: May 18, 2020 23:47 IST
A fire broke out in front of a flat on the 23rd floor of a high-rise in Sector 137 early Monday morning. The cause of the fire remains unknown. There was no casualty in the incident, officials of the fire department said.
The incident took place around 5am at Paras Tierea society, after which two fire tenders rushed to the spot, the officials said.
“An elderly couple lives in the house. They had to be rescued through the adjacent flat as the fire broke out in front of their house, blocking the exit. The cause of the fire is not clear as of now, but it seems to be an electrical fault,” chief fire officer (CFO) Arun Kumar Singh said.
The officials identified the couple as Nand Kishor Sharma (65) and his wife Kiran (61), who sustained a sprain in her leg during the incident. While they escaped almost unhurt, the house was completely gutted.
The residents of the high-rise were very appreciative of the timely response by two security guards, one stationed at the tower and the other patrolling the society.
“The tower guard jumped from the adjacent flat’s balcony to the balcony of the burning flat and helped the couple escape. The guards’ brave and prompt action saved the day and we will reward them,” Vikas Khosla, the general manager of the society, said.
The incident has highlighted the lack of preparedness to battle high-rise fires in Noida. Firemen had to rescue the couple from within the building and the fire also had to be controlled that way. However, the fire broke out on the 23rd floor, while the hydraulic platform with the department was only 42 metres high (approximately 14 floors).
The CFO also said that the society’s firefighting equipment took a while to become operational after a while, and although that led to a delay, the fire was brought under control within an hour.
Residents, however, alleged that the society’s system was faulty.
“My wife woke me up around 4.30am saying that there was smoke in the house. We immediately rushed downstairs and by then we could hear people in the other flat shouting for help. We alerted the tower guard who manually raised a fire alarm—there was no automatic fire alarm. The entrance to the house had a grill door, so the guard went in through the adjacent house, which was empty. We could see smoke coming out of the main door but no water, indicating that the sprinklers had not worked. Also, out of 20 fire cylinders that were used, only 2-3 worked. Even the hydraulic system finally used to get the fire under control started working only after a while. We were lucky that the fire neither spread nor were there any casualties. But it was a near-miss. A few more minutes and the situation could have been much worse,” NJ Mattoo, a resident of the flat above the one that was burnt, said.
The society staff, however, said that the equipment was working.
“We don’t know the cause of the fire yet, but it seems to have originated in the storeroom. They had a piped gas connection so there was no cylinder in the house. We helped control the fire as soon as possible and all our equipment was working,” the facilities manager, Hari Om Kashyap, said.