‘Fire-check doors could have saved security guard’

The Delhi Fire Service (DFS) said on Tuesday that according to its investigation, Himalaya House's staircases did not have fire-check doors to prevent a blaze from spreading.

Officials said if the building had fire check doors, Jai Bhagwan, the security guard who died due to asphyxia, could have been saved. Two other security guards were saved in the nick of time.

The owners of the building have been given 15 days to rectify the defects in fire safety equipment and ensure that it is in working condition. "During our inspection, we found that some fire safety equipment were out of order, while other equipment, such as fire-check doors, were missing. We have pointed out the deficiencies in their system and given them time to ensure that they are in working condition," DFS chief A K Sharma said.

The fire gutted four floors of the building.

While the cause of the fire was attributed to a short circuit, officials said it spread due to the renovation material in the building.

Fire-check doors restrict the spread of fire and smoke, which allows people to use the stairs to escape. According to officials, smoke travelled through the electrical shafts, which were not properly sealed.

Officials said it was possible that due to renovation, fire safety equipment in place was removed. The pumps were not working and there was no water in the tanks. DFS had to use water from other buildings to douse the fire.

A case of causing death by negligence has been registered at the Barakhamba Road police station, but no one has been booked so far. Police said they were awaiting the report from the DFS to establish who was to be held accountable.

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