Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Probe team flags ‘lapses’ in fire-fighting systems

 The probe team said the owner or developer of the building had violated several conditions of Mumbai Fire Brigade’s no-objection certificate. The probe team said the owner or developer of the building had violated several conditions of Mumbai Fire Brigade’s no-objection certificate.
Written by Alison Saldanha , Gautam Sandip Mengle | Mumbai | Posted: July 21, 2014 1:09 am | Updated: July 21, 2014 8:22 am

There were several lapses in the active and passive fire-fighting systems of the Lotus Business Park building, which led to a major escalation of the fire, a team of fire officials investigating the matter has said. The fire, which broke out on the 21st floor, killed one and injured 20 Friday.

The probe team said the owner or developer of the building had violated several conditions of Mumbai Fire Brigade’s no-objection certificate (NOC).

The fire brigade issues NOCs in two stages — during planning and prior to occupation. Passive fire-safety features include escape routes, fire lifts, fire-exits, refuge area and space around the building, while active fire-fighting features include smoke detectors, alarms, riser systems, sprinkler system, hose-reels and a water tank.

“On most floors, the lift lobbies have been converted into passageways. Many floors do not have fire doors,” deputy chief fire officer Sunil Nehsrikar said.

He added that neither the wet risers, the sprinklers nor the smoke detection systems were functional. The team will submit its report to the civic administration soon.

The fire brigade, however, maintained that there were no lapses in the operation.

Officials said a second blaze erupted on the 13th floor a few hours after the blaze on the 21st and 22nd floor of the structure and started spreading upwards. “Heavy wind threw pieces of the burning aluminum composite panels, used in the glass facade of the building, into the ventilation ducts and we started receiving distress calls of a second fire. The firemen were trapped as the staircase was also clogged with smoke and fire. Luckily,soon the first fire was almost put out,” Nehsrikar said.

The BMC revoked the building’s occupation certificate and will initiate proceedings against the owner or developer from Monday.

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