8 of 10 city buildings flout fire safety norms

BMC issues notices to 1,242 highrises

Eight of 10 buildings in the city do not comply with fire-safety norms and Mumbai Fire Brigade has issued notices to 1,242 highrises since March 2012 for the failure.

"Our officers have been inspecting buildings every day. While we have issued notices to over 1,200 highrises for not following fire-safety rules, it cannot be said other buildings do. In fact, hardly any building follows all rules," said chief fire officer Suhas Joshi.

The department has given 120 days to 1,242 buildings to fall in line.

"Roughly 80 per cent of buildings do not follow some rule or the other," said a deputy chief fire officer.

The brigade has 15 fire stations in island city, six in eastern suburbs and 12 in western suburbs.

"Our officers regularly inspect and identify violations. The buildings (violating norms) are not concentrated in a particular area," said the officer.

Deputy chief fire officer P Rahangdale said, "If a building has fire safety provisions in place, it can significantly help rescue or at least stall growth of fire until the brigade arrives. We could not go in to douse a fire that broke out in Trident during the 2008 terrorist attack. But the hotel sprinkler system worked and the blaze was put out."

The notices, however, have not had the desired effect as less than a quarter of the buildings have taken corrective measures.

Fire officers, however, conceded citizens were keen on following rules and had become aware of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, after the Mantralaya fire in June.

"Since putting in place fire safety equipment is costly, people rarely volunteer. But some buildings have taken measures and we have withdrawn a few notices," said a deputy chief fire officer.

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