Blaze kills 41 persons, destroy 2100 structures in 2010
PEOPLE BLAME POOR FIRE-FIGHTING MECHANISM
Srinagar, Mar 15: The rising incidents of fires in Kashmir are taking a heavy toll not only on the property, but also human lives. Though the affected people blame the ‘poor’ fire-fighting mechanism, the authorities pass on the buck to public, blaming negligence and haphazard constructions for rise in blaze incidents.
Officials said 2100 structures were gutted and 41 persons were killed in fire incidents across the Valley last year. Most of the casualties were recorded in Baramulla and Pulwama.
According to the Fire & Emergency Services Kashmir, 312, 233, 180, 375, 320, 383 and 312 structures, mostly residential houses, were gutted in Srinagar, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Pulwama, Islamabad (Anantnag) and Ganderbal districts respectively.
Despite having more than 24 fire stations and posts, fire incidents consumed 103 shops and killed six persons in Srinagar city last year. Incidentally, in past two months, property worth Rs 7.90 crores has been reduced to ashes in the fire incidents across the city.
The sharp increase in fire incidents has raised eye-brows on the capability of Fire & Emergency Department to avert loss of life and property. “The fire tenders always reach late on the spot. Most times this proves to be costly as the fire engulfs adjacent houses and endanger life of inmates. The problem is compounded by shortage of water during firefighting. The successive regimes have failed to strengthen the fire-fighting mechanism,” said a group of people whose houses have been damaged due to fire.
The Head of Disaster Management Cell, Aamir Ali, said the Government had been regularly imparting training to youth and others for fire-fighting. “The firemen have expertise in handling the equipment, but most of the times people in panic snatch water hoses from them and unsuccessfully try to douse the fire. The problem is compounded as many areas, particularly in old city, are congested. This makes the entry of fire tenders difficult,” Aamir said while underscoring the need for maintaining fire gap between houses.
He said in far-flung areas like Gurez which remain cut off during winter, the local youth have been trained in fire-fighting.
The Director General of Fire & Emergency Services, G.M Bhat, acknowledges that the department faces multiple problems in effectively controlling fire. “Water bodies where from we usually lift water for extinguishing fire have shrunk or vanished. Besides it has become very difficult for fire tenders to reach to the congested areas due to encroachment of roads. There is dire need of spreading awareness about fire-fighting among the people,” Bhat said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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