Some 75 percent building owners do not pay any heed to fire safety notice from Fire Service and Civil Defence, resulting in frequent fire incidents at many buildings in the capital and its outskirts.
The Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) headquarters has recently (from June 1 to till now) sent notices to 2,375 establishments in the capital and its outskirt areas, including Savar, Gazipur, Mymensingh, Narayanganj and Munshiganj, to strengthen the fire-fighting system.But only 25 percent of the building owners or their representatives contacted the FSCD headquarters after the notices were issued against them.
According to the Fire Protection Act 2003, all the buildings, including commercial establishments, must have sufficient firefighting equipment and conform to safety regulations.
The basic fire safety facilities include fire detection and alarm systems, extinguishers, hose reels with water connection, fire escape route, accessible road and reservoir with adequate water reserve.
Dino Moni Sharma, assistant director of warehouse and fire prevention at FSCD headquarters, said, “According to our survey, we sent letters to 2,375 establishments, including most risky and risky organisationss and they were asked to strengthen the fire-fighting system within a month.”
The establishments include schools, colleges, universities, shopping malls, banks, hospitals, media centres and residential hotels, he told the Daily Sun.
“After getting letters, around 500 building owners came to us for knowing how to strengthen their fire-fighting system. We have some listed engineering firms and they helped them in this regard,” he added.He said though the number of responders is low but it is increasing nowadays.
He also said, “Many banks and others organisation came to us to strengthen their fire-fighting system. But the problem is they run in rented houses. It is not possible for them to strengthen the fire-fighting system alone without the cooperation of building owners.”
“For this reason, many banks and other organisations failed to strengthen their fire-fighting system,” he added.
FSCD officials have blamed lack of public awareness, gas line leakage, unplanned urbanisation, mushrooming birth of plastic and chemical factories in densely populated areas, construction of building in violation of building code and lack of fire-safety measures for frequent incidents of fire.
City dwellers are at constant life risk due to inadequate fire safety measures in most of the hospitals, educational institutions, shopping malls, banks and residential hotels in the capital.
These establishments may turn into death traps for city dwellers if any fire breaks out there as thousands of people gather there every day.
Fire may occur any time in those establishments due to short circuits or other reasons as they have been running their services in those risky establishments for years without fire safety measures.
Recently a fire broke out on the 15th floor of the 22-storey ‘Ahmed Tower’ on 28/30 Kemal Ataturk Avenue in Banani.
On information, eight fire service units rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control within one hour. Timely action prevented another tragedy like FR Tower fire.
After the fire, FSCD sent notices to the 22-storey ‘Ahmed Tower’ on 28/30 Kemal Ataturk Avenue in Banani to strengthen the fire-fighting system within 60 days.
According to the FSCD, some of the building owners did not implement the requirements although they managed the NOC (No Objection Certificate) before construction.
On the other hand, some of the owners did not care about the fire department certificate while building their structures.
The Fire Service Assistant Director told the Daily Sun, "Every month we gave NOC (No Objection Certificate) to around 100 buildings [50 new building and 50 old building].”
At least 26 people were killed and some 70 injured a deadly fire that ripped through the 22-storey FR Tower in Dhaka's Banani area on March 28, in 2019.
On the night of February 20, 2019, a massive fire tore through several multi-storey buildings on Nanda Kumar Lane in Churihatta area, killing 67 people on the spot and injuring scores more.
“A number of building owners strengthened their firefighting system after the fire at FR Tower in Dhaka’s Banani and Churihatta fire in Old Dhaka,” Dino Moni Sharma said.