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Kolkata Baghbazar

Many people still believe that fire accidents are rare. They are not. Be it a city, a town, a metro or a village, the sum total of fire incidents if counted and reported in any given time frame would be chilling news indeed. The need to be ‘fire ready’ 24x7 is highly desirable for one and all.

Kolkata suffered due to fire accidents almost following in the horrific footsteps of the Bhandara fire in Maharashtra that killed 10 toddlers. A fire broke out at a slum located in Kolkata's Baghbazar area on Wednesday, January 13, according to news reports. As many as 20 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. This was the second fire incident reported in the capital city of West Bengal and was more damaging. Earlier, a fire had broken out at a go-down in the Manicktala area with 5 fire tenders being rushed to the spot, according to police officials.

Police officials said that the Baghbazar blaze engulfed several houses in the slum on Kshirode Vidyavinode Avenue beside the Baghbazar Women's College near Chitpore Lock Gate Bridge. "The reason for the fire is not known. The firemen were fighting it tooth and nail and hopefully, it will soon be under control," a senior officer of the Kolkata Police was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Another fact that needs to be mentioned here, is that even as to this day fire accidents that have been investigated routinely show unacceptably high levels of unpreparedness on the part of the Artichects, Developers, Builders, Owners or Tenants or whosoever may have been on the spot or could be deemed responsible for ensuring the safety of the premises in question. Ignorance of laws or safety norms cannot be excused by any stretch of leniency. But worse, it is seen inmany instances that exigency and fire safety basics are bypassed with a view to save costs. But when an accident like Kamala mills or Bhandara happens all concerned learn that the price paid could be imprisonment, heavy fines, sealing of business premises or of course, loss of life and limb.

With every major accident, the clampdown gets worse as no government or administration can be seen to be lenient as the public will get furious and vengeful and bay for the blood of all responsible. It therefore makes sense to conduct safety drills routinely, install lights, signs, extinguishers, sprinklers as prescribed by NBC, routinely maintain all equipment to keep them in working condition, ensure smooth and uncluttered fire exit facilities in the premises and last but not least, to ensure all staff, employees, management or inhabitants get fire safety training from authorised bodies so that they know how to use the tools and how to conduct mass exigency in quick time if fire strikes.

It takes a lifetime to build a home and/or successfully run a business house but a fire accident can turn in all to ashes in a matter of minutes. The threat is real and we are seeing it happen somewhere or the other every day. It’s time to act and be safe and secure well in advance from the unexpected dangers that can attack anytime.