The inquiry into the Girgaum Chowpatty fire by the Mumbai Fire Brigade is expected to put the blame on the organisers for flouting conditions set by the fire brigade in the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the Maharashtra Night event. But senior civic officials said fire officers too may face action if any lapses are found on their part.
The inquiry is being conducted by senior fire officers and the report is likely to be submitted to the municipal commissioner on Wednesday.
Fire officers said statements of witnesses are still being recorded. They alleged the organisers flouted many norms.
“It is the responsibility of the organisers to comply with the NOC,” said a fire officer.
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Fire officers said the violations were pointed out to the organisers a day before the event. Normally, inflammable material and LPG cylinders for events in open spaces are not allowed. “Permission is given to use such material for events held indoor,” the officer added.
As per the report prepared by the civic body’s disaster management cell, the fire was caused by the pyrotechnics. “As per norms, we can prosecute the organiser for not complying with the NOC,” said the fire officer.
Civic officials said it appeared fire officers were no serious about the non-compliance. “They could have withheld the NOC. It means they allowed the function despite knowing the violations,” said a civic official.
A retired chief fire officer said fire officers were to blame. “By issuing letter to the organisers, the fire officers seem to have passed the buck on the organisers. But, they did not understand the importance of the event. Fire officers present on the site on Sunday were witness to the violations. So, they could have objected to it and asked the organisers to remove it,” he said.
New fire engines’ induction today
The Mumbai Fire Brigade will induct 16 new fire engines with automatic transmission on Wednesday that will help them reduce response time to distress calls and improve rescue operations. The new fire engines will replace those that are already 15 years old. “In the manual transmission of the current fire engines, there is a lot of stress on the fireman driving the vehicle to reach the spot on time. The new fire engines, which have automatic transmission and integration of fire-fighting system inside, will help our firemen reach on time,” said a fire officer. The officer added that these fire engines are fuel efficient and have anti-lock braking system, which would be useful on slopes. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will be the chief guest for the event on Wednesday.