Mumbai: No lessons learnt from the Bhandara hospital fire

It seems the civic administration and Mumbai Fire Brigade has learnt no lessons from the state-run hospital at Bhandara where 10 babies died after a major fire broke out. Despite finding that 732 hospitals in the city were actually not complying with the Fire safety norms, no serious action followed over a month after the fire audit.

The Thursday night fire at Sunrise hospital in Bhandup that killed 11 people including 10 senior citizens is an eye-opener that many such nursing homes and hospitals continue to violate fire safety norms right under the nose of BMC and Mumbai Fire Brigade.

Bhandara hospital fire mishap in January 2021, prompted the Mumbai Civic body and the Mumbai Fire Brigade to conduct a fire audit of all hospitals and nursing homes in the city. Of the 732, around 178 hospitals were found to have major violations, were issued notices and warned to comply with the fire safety norms. " However what follow up was done after that audit. We heard nothing about it after that. What action was taken against those who are still violating fire safety. Sunrise like hospitals is a big example of this. It was also a covid care centre, then how could BMC ward officials not see these violations is what I am wondering?" Mahesh Chandwani, Social activist and Mulund Resident.

“During the audit conducted in the aftermath of Bhandara fire mishap, we found that the most common lapses in hospitals were defunct fire extinguishers and untrained staff in firefighting. In some cases, we found issues with electrical wiring. A committee has been set up to probe the incident, before commenting any further we will wait for the report,” said a senior BMC official.

The fire brigade also inspected all the 75 malls in Mumbai after the fire broke out at the City Center Mall in Mumbai Central in October 2020. At that time, notices were issued to 29 malls that did not have fire safety equipment or did not follow fire prevention rules. Notice was also issued at Bhandup's Dreams Mall.

It took 56 hours to control the fire at Mumbai Central City Center Mall. The issue of fire safety in the mall was highly debated in the BMC general body and standing committee for over a month. Following which BMC then conducted the fire safety audit and inspection of all the malls in the city and it was found that a total of 29 malls in the city was not complying 100 per cent with the first safety norms. Therefore, notices were issued to these malls for fire prevention measures.

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