Delhi fire: Yet another example of rules being flouted brazenly
How many more fire incidents and loss of lives are needed for us, as a society, to realise the importance following safety norms? We have probably lost count of the number lives lost due to fire-related incidents, as they happen so frequently. We have probably even stopped paying attention to reports on fire. It is only when the death toll is significantly high that such incidents get media attention.
Fire-related incidents that made headlines in recent times are Kamala Mills fire at Mumbai, a fire at a bar in Bengaluru and yesterday's fire at a plastic godown in Delhi which claimed 17 lives.
On Saturday evening, a fire broke out at a three-storey building in Bawana industrial area which killed 17 workers. Police have identified five bodies and have arrested owner Manoj Jain in connection with the case.
Speculations are rife about what triggered the fire, but we should actually be asking is whether the fire would have spread the way it did if the norms had been followed. Even in Mumbai's Kamala Mills fire, it had emerged that Hookah services being offered to guests at the roof-top restaurant may have caused the fire to erupt. There were no adequate arrangements to douse the flames and many could not escape the building and died due to asphyxiation. All in all, Mumbai fire claimed 14 lives because fire safety guidelines were not followed
Even in yesterday's fire in Delhi, the authorities are not yet sure if the building even had an NoC or No Objection Certificate.
"In all probability it was a recently constructed building. Area was made only for plastic factory. Only a probe will say if this factory received an NOC certficate The activity undergoing here falls under high hazard category," Director of Delhi Fire Service, GC Mishra, told news agency ANI.
"FIR lodged by Delhi police. The investigation is being done. Electric wires in the building were running haywire, I think fire must have started there but it will be disclosed only after probe. There was no fire fighting arrangement there," he added.
The fire, which started at the storage unit on the ground floor of a two-storey building, ripped through the structure. Ten women and seven men were killed, a fire official said, noting that a man and woman were injured.
The police said an FIR has been registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections relating to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible material.
It is time that the authorities wake up and carry out strict checks at all the buildings for fire safety. The authorities must force the building owners to follow all safety norms prescribed under the law without fearing any political interference. After all it is a matter of human lives.