“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”-or something similar, is a popular phrase often repeated by people in different situations. It fits perfectly if we were to speak about the attitude of most of us who may have been fortunate enough to not find ourselves in a situation like the one the man in that picture above does.
Mishaps don’t come with warning. And when they do, they don’t allow much time. This is precisely why it is wise to take precautions when the going is good and we have all the time in the world.
Let us go down memory lane and look at some of the most dramatic and tragic fire accidents that happened because someone thought accidents happen to others only.
1) Haunted Castle (1984)
Haunted Castle was a haunted attraction at Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson Township, New Jersey. The original Haunted House was built prior to the fall "shoulder season" of 1978 to boost attendance and as a test for building a larger facility the following year.
The purpose of the Haunted Castle walk-through dark ride was to entertain its customers by frightening them. Exterior decorations included plastic monsters, skulls and other features meant to create a frightening atmosphere. A façade of false turrets and towers lent the illusion of height to the one-story structure, completing the look of a forbidding medievalcastle. After crossing a drawbridge over the surrounding moat, visitors entered the castle and felt their way along a 450-foot (140 m)-long convoluted path of dim corridors, occasionally being startled when employee actors dressed as mummies, vampires and other creatures jumped from hiding. Various theatrical props and exhibits were in view, including coffins, ghoulish mannequins, hanging spider webs and skeletons. Alcoves along the route were used to present vignettes of famous and infamous characters and events from movies, horror and ghost stories, and sometimes real life, with live actors portraying the stars of the scene. Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man and Lizzie Borden were frequent guest stars. Strobe lights and eerie sounds completed the scene.
On May 11, 1984, a fire destroyed the attraction, trapping and killing eight teenaged visitors. Six Flags Great Adventure and its parent company Six Flags were indicted for aggravatedmanslaughter and accused of recklessly causing the deaths by taking inadequate precautions against a fire. In the trial, the prosecution argued that repeated warnings by safety consultants to install sprinklers or smoke or fire alarms had been ignored. The defendants denied any culpability, and contended that the fire was arson and that no amount of precautions would have saved lives.
2) 2Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion, Mont-coal, WV (April 5, 2010)
The Upper Big Branch mine explosion has been deemed the worst US mining disaster since 1970 with a fatality count of 29 workers.At the time of this event, the owner of the mine, Massey Energy, had a longstanding history of safety violations, including those involving methane gas. According to the investigation, it didn’t appear as though the last four fallen miners attempted to find emergency equipment. Laura Walter of EHS Today summed it up best - during this calamity, “rescuers, family members, and the Montcoal, WV community had their worst fears confirmed.”
According to NCRB 2015, fire accidents kill 48 Indians every day. Fire accidents have killed over 1 lakh Indians in 5 years (2011-2015) In our country, as we at Beyond Carlton keep saying, fire safety takes a backseat and we can spot a fire safety violation very easily. Because of this nonchalance, we have had some of the most tragic fire incidents; we talk about it for a while and forget after a few months.
3) Deep-water Horizon Explosion (April 20, 2010)
Not only did this explosion and subsequent fire kill 11 workers and injure 17 others— they also resulted in the sinking of the Deep-water Horizon drilling rig. Even worse, they led to a huge offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We can’t sugarcoat the impact of this explosion. The oil spill that it caused was considered the biggest marine oil spill in the world, as well as the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the US. According to reports, The rig’s management knew that important safety equipment had been previously compromised. But, they ignored this fact to continue operations.
Here are some of the worst fire accidents of 2017, closer home. Do we still remember them?
1. Kamala Mills – Mumbai
This is one of the recent fire tragedies that shook India. Kamala mills fire accident it one of the worst tragedies of 2017. The accident occurred on 28th December, in two rooftop pubs in Mumbai. The accident claimed 14 lives. The cause of the fire is claimed to be from a hookah. Apart from this, there were series of fire safety violations in these pubs. The pubs did not have emergency exits nor did it have fire safety equipment in working condition.
2. Plastic Factory – Ludhiana
The fire accident at a plastic factory in Ludhiana took place on 20th November. 13 people, including 3 firemen were killed and dozens were critically injured. The 5-storey building allegedly had approval only for 2 storeys and also had been stocking up hazardous chemicals. Due to these violations, the fire accident led to building collapse. Moreover, there were no fire safety system or fire safety equipment in the building.
The rescue operation became very challenging for the disaster responders and there were many trapped inside the debris for a long time. Many houses near the factory also got damaged because of this incident.
3. Snack Shop in Saki Naka – Mumbai
12 labourers were killed in this ghastly fire accident in Khairani Road Saki Naka on December 18. The fire was due to an electrical short circuit followed by an explosion of gas cylinders. At the time of this disaster, 21 persons were sleeping inside the shop on a loft which was 60X30 feet. The workers were trapped inside this cramped place. The shop had only one exit and that was blocked due to the fire. The fire was doused by drilling a hole from the neighbouring shop. The owner of the shop did not have the license to operate.
4. Rohini hospital – Telangana
This accident occurred on mid-October at the time where 199 patients were admitted in Rohini super specialty hospital Hanamkonda, Telangana. The accident claimed 2 lives and several others severely injured. The cause of the fire was allegedly due to a cylinder leakage in the operation theatre. The hospital did not have fire systems in working condition.
5. Scrap market – Kota
This gruesome accident occurred on July 19 in a scrap market in Kota, Rajasthan. The fire was due to an electrical short circuit and subsequent explosion of five cylinders stored nearby. This accident killed two and 15 people were severely injured. It is also alleged that almost all the shops stored diesel in canisters due to which the fire became uncontrollable.
6. Cracker Shop – Rourkela
A major fire broke out in a cracker shop in Rourkela, Odisha on October 18. The fire killed one and injured three persons. The fire started due to an electrical short-circuit and the shop had stocked a large quantity of firecrackers.
7. Illegal cracker unit – Jharkhand
A fire at an illegal cracker unit in Kumardubi village, Jamshedpur killed 6 people and 4 injured. The cracker unit was a house where a lot of crackers was stored and manufactured. The house was located in a busy market area.
8. Explosion – Juhu Mumbai
The disaster took place on September 7th in an under the construction apartment in Juhu Mumbai. The fire was caused by a gas cylinder explosion in which 6 people were killed and 11 were injured. The victims were staying in a makeshift portion of the stilt are of the building.
These accidents were the worst in terms of casualties. But there was a number of fire accidents which involved huge property losses or had put many lives at huge risk. Here are to mention a few:
1. MY Hospital, Indore – November 2017 – Fire systems were not in working condition. The smoke engulfed the ward where 47 neonates were admitted.
2. Bhandra station, Mumbai – October 2017 – Explosion of gas cylinders due to demolition drive by BMC. Around 200-300 houses gutted.
3. Multi-storeyed hosiery unit in Ludhiana – October 2017 – Fire spread rapidly as the fire department was ill-equipped. The unit was allowed to operate in the residential area.
4. Chennai silks – June 2017 – The 7 storeyed building in buzzing streets on TNagar was engulfed in fire – The estimated loss was Rs. 420 crore and the structure had a series of fire safety and building code violations.
Moral of the story:-
BE AWARE NOW AND TAKE STEPS TO SECURE YOUR FIRE SAFETY BASICS- BECAUSE WHO KNOWS? YOU COULD BE NEXT……