Citing “negligence” on the part of senior fire officials who had rushed to the site of the fire in Kalbadevi last week, senior civic officials at the BMC said that the fire officers did not follow standard operating procedures (SOP). According to civic officials, only a deputy chief fire officer is supposed to lead the firefighting team during a grade-II fire call, but chief fire officer Sunil Nesrikar rushed to the spot.
The official, who did not wish to be named, said that chief officers are supposed to only direct the officials from the “command post”. They are not supposed to venture into the structure.
The brigade call denotes a higher severity of the fire that grade-II, and was announced after the fire officers got stuck under the debris, said the civic official who added, “In this case, four senior fire officers were near the spot and got stuck inside. It was after that the brigade call was announced. What would the fire brigade have done if there was another brigade call at the same time in Dahisar? How are they supposed to act without leaders?”
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Of the four seniors who were stuck inside the building after it collapsed, three officials lost their lives. Nesrikar is recuperating at the Airoli Burns Centre.
Grades are associated with fire incidents depending on nature and severity. A brigade call is announced in case of severe threat to human lives. In the Kalbadevi incident, however, all the residents were rescued even before the brigade call was announced.
Another official said, “Loss of property is the last thing to be considered during a rescue operation. It is true that a standard operating procedure is difficult to follow during emergencies, but what will a force do without a commander now?”
The official added that the seven-member panel appointed to probe the incident will look into the aspect of “negligence”, apart from several other lacunae.