Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Fire factors identified: Go into action

Fire factors identified: Go into action

All stakeholders including market authorities, shoppers and shop owners are panic stricken after repeated fire incidents at different market places in the city. The government, city authorities and fire department are also highly concerned about the ominous occurrences. But the question is why so many fire incidents took place within such a short period of time, averaging almost one every day. Likely factors of diverse nature including electric short circuits, burning cigarette butts, gas burner explosions etc are under scrutiny. Even possibility of sabotage is not ruled out. But these are still in the realm of speculation; only thoroughgoing investigations can identify the immediate causes of the fire incidents.

Following the shocking fire incident at Bangabazar, the Fire Service and Civil Defence authorities conducted weeklong surveys on several dozens of commercial establishments in the city and identified some factors that explain why the fire incidents assumed such a damaging proportion and why bringing fire under control proved to be so difficult. These risk factors pose a real threat to the overall safety of the market places. While they may not be the immediate causes of fire incident but, like time bombs, those just wait for detonation to flare up into destructive fire.

According to fire protection laws, all buildings, commercial establishments in particular, must have adequate number of fire safety gears conforming to the measures of public security. The markets and shopping malls surveyed are being run without sufficient fire extinguishers, hydrant points, water reservoir and tanks with certain amount of water. Electric wiring in most them was found to be seriously faulty. Based on survey findings, fire authorities categorised some of the buildings as very risky, some as moderately risky and the others as risky of lesser degrees. In case fire breaks out in any of them, damage and destruction is likely to be enormous.

The factors that act as fuel to the fire have been identified. But that is just the first step in the series of actions to save the establishments. The owners of the buildings now must be asked to arrange for all fire safety gears immediately; but pious advice has failed to bring these penny-wise and pound-foolish owners to senses. In case they fail to abide by official orders, strict measures including sealing off the markets should be taken, without lenience whatsoever.