Fire accidents, as common as it may sound unfortunately are brutal and has engulfed our past quite a number of time with its ravages. While the casualties have become mere numbers in statistics and burnt buildings a measurement of economic loss, no one can deny the fact that fire accidents are one of the most painful tragedy one can go through and learn lessons from so that such travesties don’t occur in future. Here are few such accidents that shook our country and the world to the core:
No fire tragedy is worse than the others but the way the beast of fire enveloped Upahaar Cinema in Green Park, Delhi on 13th June 1997, the nation held its breath in aghast as 59 people were killed, being trapped inside. And 103 people were seriously injured.
This tragedy was a classic case of basic fire protection systems being neglected in a public place. The post mortem of the incident threw light on lack of a functional PA system and emergency lights, foot light and exit lights, blocked gangways, blocked exits with most of the doors locked, and obstruction at available exits due to unauthorised shops, absence of fire extinguishers and lack of periodic maintenance that led to such tragedy.
With lack of open space, classrooms in close proximity, a very narrow exit gate, make shift thatched roofs and lack of ventilation, fire accidents just wait to happen. Which is why and what happened as a matter of fact in a school in Kumbakonam in Thanjavur District on 16 July 2004 taking lives of 94 innocent school kids.
Imagine one is battling for life in a hospital bed. And imagine the struggle is made ten times worse when fire takes place in the same hospital. A short circuit in the basement led to a massive fire break out in AMRI Hospital at Dhakuria in South Kolkata at 3 am on 9 December 2011. But this was still not worse. The worst part was that the rescue operation was hugely hampered due to lack of blueprint of the hospital plan – something which is a must for any architectural design..
This happened 7 decades ago in another part of the world in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a circus performance by The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus going on the stage when the tent caught fire, apparently owing to a carelessly tossed cigarette. The flames fed on the gasoline-lined tent and the fire spread very quickly. A spectacular circus performance meant for entertainment ended up taking 168 lives that day.
While no one really wishes or deliberately causes such fire accidents but looking back to these incidents, one cannot help but admit that a little bit of human preparedness, high sense of responsibility, focus on disaster management plan could have maybe saved a lot of lives.