Written by SANJANA BHALERAO
After a spate of deadly fires and faced with a rising number of buildings continuing to flout safety norms, the BMC is set to appoint a nominated officer for fire compliance in each of the 24 wards. The nominated officer and his team will check residential and commercial structures for fire compliance, including whether conditions of the fire no objection certificate have been complied with.
The new system will be in addition to the central fire compliance wing that was formed under the Mumbai Fire Brigade after the 2017 Kamala Mills blaze that killed 14 people. Currently, 34 officers across Mumbai ensure compliance of fire safety norms in buildings and establishments. These officers are expected to coordinate with designated officers of the wards for fire inspections.
Under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, it is the responsibility of a property’s owner to follow fire safety norms and also submit an audit report every six months certifying compliance. In recent fires, the fire brigade found that housing societies had failed to submit the audit report or maintain fire safety equipment. A case in point is last month’s fire in the 15-storey Sargam Housing Society in Tilak Nagar, which had failed to submit an audit report or maintain its fire fighting equipment.
A report submitted by the fire brigade to the standing committee has stated that the city has recorded 5,321 fire related incidents, resulting in 30 deaths and injuries to 383 people in 2018. In the last year, the fire brigade had inspected 4,436 hotels and restaurants and taken action against 2,264 units. While out of the 5,658 buildings inspected, 3,018 were served with compliance notices, nearly 80 per cent of fires in Mumbai were due to short circuits, the report added.