Gutted cargo terminal didn’t have fire safety clearance,say police

The cargo terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport,which was gutted after a fire broke out there a fortnight ago,did not have a clearance certificate from the fire department since 1998,investigations have revealed.

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi | Published: January 23, 2012 2:50:26 am

The cargo terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI),which was gutted after a fire broke out there a fortnight ago,did not have a clearance certificate from the fire department since 1998,investigations have revealed. About 40 airlines offices were gutted in the fire which broke out around 2 am on January 6. The police had then registered a case of sabotage.

“In a written communication to the police we have informed them that the building did not have enough fire-fighting equipment and that the airport had not obtained a no-objection certificate from the department since 1998,” said TS Sharma,divisional officer (fire prevention).

The investigation into the incident revealed that the fire spread from the office of Thai Airways due to a “short circuit.” “The official present in the office at the time was trapped inside and he broke open the windowpanes to get out. After he got out,the official informed the guard but they took nearly half an hour to call the fire department for help. In the meantime,the guards were trying to douse the flames on their own,” said a police officer.

Police said they will now serve a showcause notice to Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) over the negligence.

“During our last audit,we had informed the airport officials that there were no sprinklers or any emergency routes. There were no fire hydrant wells in the vicinity either. They flouted all the guidelines,” said the fire department official.

Police said no casualties were reported as the incident happened in the wee hours when most of the offices were closed. Several important documents,however,were destroyed in the incident.

Delhi Police officers are also studying the CCTV footage obtained from the building. The offices were made by partitioning the floor using screens of inflammable material.

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