Mumbai: The blaze that erupted on Wednesday has exposed serious shortcomings of city’s firefighting equipment. It has also turned the spotlight on the manner in which permission is given to high rises without checking whether firefighting equipment can reach such heights.
The fire brigade team’s inability to reach the 33rd floor of the Beaumonde residential tower in Prabhadevi has raised questions about the approvals given to high rises without checking whether firefighting equipment can access the topmost floor. “How can the civic body allow construction of such high rises when the fire brigade isn’t equipped to reach the higher floors,” Shiv Sena MLA Sada Sarvankar demanded.
“I fail to understand how the BMC and the fire brigade gave permission to build such high rises when they lack ladders and snorkels to reach top floors,” he said. A senior fire brigade official also attributed the inability to reach top floors of the skyscraper to lack of proper equipment. “Mumbai fire brigade ladders can only scale a building that is 90 metres in height,” he said. “Now, there are plans to use firefighting robots,” he added.
“There is a tower in Tardeo which is 254 metres high and is 61-storeyed. One wonders what would happen if a fire were to break there,” he said. Shirish Sukhatme, former president of the Practicing Engineers Architects and Town Planers Association, defended the construction of high rises. “What is needed is more sprinklers, smoke detectors and block-free staircases,” he added. Incidentally, the Sena-BJP combine run BMC has a budget of Rs 35000 crore.