Jolted by Andheri blaze, BMC plans to buy 90-m snorkel

Its 62-metre aerial ladder could reach only till the 15th floor during Friday’s fire.

| Mumbai | Updated: July 22, 2014 8:13:01 am
The floor of the Lotus Business Park that  was gutted The floor of the Lotus Business Park that was gutted.

After a delay of two years, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally decided to purchase a 90-metre snorkel at a cost of Rs 19 crore to carry out firefighting and rescue work at skyscrapers in the city.

The proposal will be presented to the civic body’s standing committee for a final approval on Wednesday.

The decision to purchase the aerial ladder, capable of reaching up to 22 floors, was taken in 2012 but got delayed because of on-going negotiations with the company Bronto based in Finland. “Since that is the only company that manufactures aerial ladders, there was no case of issuing tenders. But the process got delayed because the company took time to re-work on the costs of the snorkel,” said additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh.

A massive fire that broke out on the 21st floor of the Lotus Business Park on Friday killed one fireman and left 21 others injured. According to an official from the BMC’s disaster department, the 62-metre snorkel that was used on Friday could reach only till the 15th floor, causing major problems for the firefighters who had to then rely on the Navy and the Coast Guard to send choppers for the firemen who were left stranded on the terrace of the high-rise.

“Once the proposal is approved, we should receive the snorkel in another six months. The 90-metre snorkel is the highest ladder used the world over. With the number of skyscrapers increasing in the city, the snorkel will help in rescue operations,” Deshmukh added.

A snorkel is an elevating platform designed to help firemen reach affected areas located at a good height.

Meanwhile, the Fire Brigade on Monday began inspecting the Lotus Business Park and taking photographic evidence to analyse the violations of fire safety measures in comparison to the sanctioned plan. The probe team, which has found several lapses in the active and passive fire-fighting systems of the building, will soon submit the report to the BMC.

The civic body will also file an FIR against the society for criminal negligence, senior civic officials said Monday.

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