Fire accidents are extremely common but most fires are not accidents in the real sense, but self-created mishaps caused by individual and collective ignorance. A classic example is the most recent fire ‘accident’ that gutted a 100 shops in Salt Lake in Kolkata.
Over 100 shops were burnt down to ashes in a massive fire that broke out in the Salt Lake market in Kolkata early on Thursday, 12th January. Since most of these shops were constructed by inflammable items like bamboos and plastics, they caught fire very quickly. The early morning wind helped the fire to spread rapidly and compound the damage.
If the people who made the first shop were educated and warned that the material in use were inflammable and that the danger potential was high, they may have had real reason to rethink. But that did not happen.
And it’s not as if only illiterate or uneducated people are responsible. Architects who construct posh buildings and developers who undertake massive projects know the rules and guidelines laid down by the NBC. Yet, they do not take care to install basic and mandatory fire safety paraphernalia like extinguishers, sprinklers, emergency lights, photoluminescent and way finding signages. This wilful ignorance is often driven by financial considerations which actually makes it criminal in intent.
Frankly, saving on fire safety is a ‘penny wise pound foolish’ option which can lead to disastrous consequences. But for many ‘educated’ wise people NBC stands not for National Building Code but NoBody Cares.