Lack Of Fire-Fighting Systems and Fire Evacuation in Mumbai’s High-Rise Buildings Led To Fire Accidents, Say Fire Officials

Mumbai has not yet a ‘Fire-Free’ city in India. People in high-rise buildings risk their money with no certainty of rescuing lives in fatal fire incidents. The recent fire accident in a multi-storey residential building at Dadar has brought the stark reality that Mumbai’s high-rise buildings lacked fire evacuation and safety measures. The blaze erupted inside a closed flat on the 42nd floor of the 44-storey R A Residency building. The fire was doused after seven hours of effort by the Mumbai Fire Brigade team. The fire was confined to the electric fittings in the affected flat located on the 42nd floor.

It is worth noting that the firefighting system of the building was not functioning, which led to the worsening of the situation. Moreover, there was no fire warning system in the building. This was the second consecutive fire incident in the metro city. A similar fire broke out in Andheri East, Mumbai, Thursday afternoon. A fire erupted on a 29-floor building in Mumbai on Wednesday. These fire incidents are enough to tell the bitter story of how people in Mumbai are living amid fire fears with no signs of immediate rescue and evacuation measures.

“The Fire Evacuation Lift which was introduced in 2018, is anytime the best option to fight the fire. But the old buildings have Fire Escape Chutes as per the old norms, which can only be used to rescue people from the affected area and not to reach higher floors. That’s the reason Fire Evacuation Lift is good for us. It helps Fire officials a lot in firefighting. Since there is a smoke check lobby, there is less chance for fire to enter. Fire Brigade team can easily reach higher floors with heavy equipment in time to douse the fire. Manually carrying such heavy equipment and putting a lot of effort into firefighting operations becomes very difficult. Practically it is difficult, but now as we have brought a fire evacuation lift which is now mandatory for the new building height above 70 meters to receive NOC, it seems possible,” says Fire Officials.

Dr. Vikram Mehta, Managing Director of SPARTAN Fire Evacuation Lift, said, “Time is of the essence when fighting fires. A few minutes can be all that stands between controllable flames and an out-of-control blaze. We could have saved the time and energy of the fire brigade team, who has to carry all the heavy kit required to douse the fire on their body. Not only do the Fire Brigade team, but residents of that building have been forced to come down and climb up 42 floors. Who knows, there must be people with different abilities, pets, senior citizens, and kids. It’s not right for people staying in high-rise buildings to go through such a hazardous situation without any safety. These are major concerns that builders and developers should take seriously to save lives and assets. They have to install the Fire Evacuation Lift as per the advisory and norms for the safety of people. It will save time and lives and will make it efficient for the fire brigade department to fight the fire.”

“Every high-rise building has to be installed with fire evacuation lifts. But builders are not complying with it. We need to take correct preventive measures. In the R A Residency Tower fire accident, there were no casualties, but imagine the kind of losses and damage the building now has. Every buyer should be educated enough to use the Fire Fighting System and the Fire Evacuation Lift,” says Dr. Deepak Monga, Fire Safety and Evacuation Expert.

As of now, around 33 Fire Evacuation Lifts have been installed in Maharashtra, and around 50 Fire Evacuation Lift projects are under process whose Form A we have received and approved.

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