Substandard electric materials trigger fire

Mahabub Alam

10 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Substandard electric materials, including wire are mainly responsible for incidents of fire across Bangladesh as they cause “short-circuits,” sources in Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD).

A statistics of FSCD show that about 26,954 fire incidents out of total 72,093 were caused due to electric short-circuits across the country in the last four years since 2015.

In 2018, about 7,825 fire incidents were due to short-circuits. Sources in FSCD said that the electric short-circuits were responsible for nearly 70 percent fires in the capital.

Experts say that the sub-standard electric materials, particularly cables were responsible for the short-circuits.

Sources in Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) told this correspondent that there are a number of electric material manufacturing factories in the old parts of the city.

“The factories often produce sub-standard materials. Even they counterfeit cables of renowned companies, and the wires are sold especially in the wholesale shops in the old parts of Dhaka,” one source said.

The Mobile Court of BSTI and RAB drive saw many of these factories shut, but soon they returned and started producing low quality electric materials.

Last year, we raided at a number of factories. Of them, one was at Siddikbazar. Local and foreign popular brands were faked in the factory located on the fourth floor of a building. And the factory owners marketed those to various parts of the country.      

During the construction of homes, offices and other structures, the work of installation of electric materials are normally given on contract.

Mohammad Shipon Mia, a mason by profession, told the daily sun that the contractors used sub-standard electric materials to make quick money.

Asked how he knew about it, he saw the use of these materials when he worked for some major buildings in the city.

Saiful Islam, owner of a house at Badda, told this correspondent that once he bought wires and other electric materials for his house from Nawabpur in old Dhaka. Later, his electrician found them to be of sub-standard quality. The wires were being sold with the label of a major popular company.

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) sources said the standard of this fake products were extremely poor and when they fail to take high voltage it triggers fire from short-circuit.

Prof Dr Mohammad Shafikul Islam, head of EEE Department at BUET, said, “When we construct a building, we choose cables after calculation. We test circuit. After testing, we found many circuits which are useless as they burn themselves.”

He urged those who inspect buildings to carefully check the wires being used and the circuit breakers.