By this time, the Arpit hotel fire tragedy in the wee hours of Tuesday, 12th February has become old hat. Karol Bagh, in central Delhi, is popular with tourists and lined with hotels and markets. Every news agency has elaborated on it and there is nothing much left to be said. However, for the record, twenty-six fire engines were sent to the fatal spot after the fire broke out at Hotel Arpit Palace around 4 am. Most people in the hotel were sleeping at the time.
at least nine people were killed and three injured after a fire at a hotel in Delhi's Karol Bagh area early that morning. Some people jumped off the five-storey building to escape the blaze only to die from the fall.
The fire was brought under control around 7 am. Thirty-five people were rescued and those injured were taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Most of the deaths took place due to suffocation, the police said. A child and a woman were among those killed, they added.
If one were to randomly pull out fire tragedy stories previous to this one from anywhere in the country- be it the ESIC hospital or the Kamala Mills or any other, there is one common thread. After reading the gory details, what follows is a familiar pattern of information such as:
Hotel or hospital or whatever, had no proper exigency paraphernalia in place.
In most cases it did not have fire clearance and even if it did, it was found that the license was issued despite the rules not being followed. At least in one instance, the licensing officer has been penalized.
The place had narrow passageways and did not have emergency exit and even if it did, the same was blocked, barred or locked and did not serve the purpose.
NATIONAL BUILDING CODE IS A THICK BOOK -IS IT FOR LINING THE TRASH CAN?
Hey! Good Morning Mr. Builder, Architect, Fire and Safety inspector, owner of premises, civic authority. I am speaking to you.
Many wise men-over generations gone by- with great experience burnt midnight oil and deeply studied past cases to come up with this National Building Code. Also, with new developments, the code was amended to cover most of the possibilities of accidents that may be caused by power failure, blasts, blackouts, fires etc.
Yet, it would appear from the facts as I have outlined, that the pages need to be used to line bird cages, trash cans or even as toilet paper to save some money. Now the logic is if we can save money by not installing emergency lights, signages, fire extinguishers, emergency exits or carrying out fire drills or staff training in basic safety, so why not save a little more? At least that way we can say with a straight face that we are actually using the NBC book. Because obviously, the norms laid out are almost NEVER followed-just as in the Arpit Palace incident.
Think about it.