In last 4 yrs, fire accidents claimed 46 lives in Hyderabad, Rs 120 crore property too lost - Times of India

A recent RTI reply reveals that a series of fire accidents in Hyderabad between January 2019 and October 2023 resulted in the loss of 46 lives and caused damage worth around Rs 120 crore. The highest number of casualties occurred in 2022, with 20 lives lost. The city has witnessed a consistent number of fire accidents in recent years, with an average of 1,300 to 1,400 incidents annually. There is a need for more fire stations and stricter enforcement of fire safety norms in the city. Fire officials have proposed bringing all buildings under the fire department's purview. Read Less HYDERABAD: A series of fire accidents in Hyderabad, recorded between January 2019 and October 2023, snuffed out 46 lives apart from causing damage to properties worth around Rs 120 crore, reveals a recent RTI reply. Of the total casualties, 28 died on the spot while 18 perished after being rescued.The RTI, filed by city activist Kareem Ansari, also shows that 2022 was the deadliest with 20 lives lost and 16 serious fires reported, followed by 2023 that's so far seen a death toll - including the recent Nampally inferno - of 15.In all, the district witnessed a staggering 6,525 fire accidents of varying intensity during this period. "These numbers are serious considering that the city's population density is growing by the day," said Ansari pointing out how, as per the RTI reply from district fire officer, the annual count of fire accidents hasn't seen a dip in Hyderabad in many years. Even the number of victims is on the rise.Data shows the city recorded 1,300 to 1,400 fire accidents every year on an average in the last four years - though majority of them were minor. The count of serious fires ranged between 16 and 19 through the years, with 2019 recording most such accidents.According to reports, these fires occurred in godowns, warehouses, timber units, factories, commercial complexes, residential complexes among other places. For the city's huge population, there are not enough fire stations. In fact, in the last few years, while the number of police stations have increased, the number of fire stations remains the same. At the same time, departments concerned have become more lax when it comes to enforcing fire safety norms in multi-storey buildings, be it residential or commercial, with no follow ups," said Ansari, adding that unless the GHMC limits get more stations and new rules mandating constant checks of residential buildings, the situation may not see much improvement.Activists also stressed the need for the city to develop a comprehensive fire safety plan immediately given that it houses scores of old buildings that do not have the latest fire safety equipment in place.Fire officials say that they have already submitted a proposal for a new rule that'll bring all buildings within GHMC under the fire department's purview."Presently any commercial complex which is 15 metres and above and any residential complex which is 18 metres and above need an NOC from the fire department. For others, there is no such mandate. But two-three months ago, we have proposed that all structures be brought under us," said Y Nagi Reddy, director general of fire department. He added that citizen awareness and vigilance is also very crucial in self reporting violations. "It is best practice for all buildings to have a fire officer and routinely monitor the building's fire preparedness," he said.