Bangalore smoulders with rise in fire accidents


The Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Departments express concern over the growing number of fire calls in the City.

By Sanchari Ghatak

Bengaluru: Bengaluru is witnessing a drastic increase in fire accidents in the city. Last year the figures for fire calls stood at 2808, compared to 3114 fire calls received by the Fire Department this year by the end of October. As per the building bye-laws in various states of India, high rise buildings (high rise being defined as ground plus four or more floors) need to get clearance from the state’s Fire Services Department. It has to then fulfil all the conditions before the local statutory authority issues the Occupancy Certificate. The Karnataka Fire Force Act, 1964, has clear guidelines for the same.

“A lot of high-rise buildings in the city either don’t have No Objection Certificates (NoCs) from the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department (KSFES) or do not have Clearance Certificates (CC) issued by KSFES Department. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been instructed not to grant building plans and licenses if the applicants cannot submit the NoCs issued by the KSFES Department,” K. Shivkumar, KSFES Department Director , told the SoftCopy.

Several restaurants, hospitals, and shopping centres across Bangalore lack fire safety equipment and NOCs from the Fire Department, those are mandatory for every building in order to function legally.

Sri. C. Basavanna, Deputy Director of KSFES Department said, “Authorities of malls, restaurants, hospitals and high-rise buildings need to ensure the compliance of all the fire safety guidelines. This has to be done before submitting the application for obtaining an NOC to the Chief Fire Officer. They can also contact the Chief Fire Officer in case there is a delay in carrying out the inspection or issue of fire safety guidelines or issue of NOC after the inspection has been carried out etc. The department does not levy any charges for this job for the time being.”

The KSFES Department has ordered the closure of nearly 81 hospitals in the state. Of this, 51 are in Bangalore. Most high-rise residential buildings near HSR Layout and Koramangala lack NoCs too. The department will now consider these as criminal cases for non-compliance.

Gaurav Sharma, a resident of one of the high-rise buildings at Koramangala said, “I did not really ask about fire safety while renting the apartment. Even though this is a very important thing to look at while renting an apartment, we often tend to overlook it. This was a huge mistake on my part.”

The owners of all high-rise buildings are expected to apply for inspection every two years. Agencies empanelled by the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department then submits a report to the fire department and the BBMP.

“We carefully analyse the reports submitted to us and then reissue clearance certificates to the buildings. This ensures all equipment is up-to-date and no obstacles have been constructed near the entrances and exits of the building. In case of a breach, the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department asks Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) to disconnect their services to the building until further notice,” J.H. Ravishankar, a Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department official told The SoftCopy.

The Director advised that it is essential for both internal fire-fighting as well as external fire-fighting processes to work together in order to bring a fire emergency under control. The internal fire separation or internal fire control measures such as sprinklers and alarms should be activated without any delay. Owing to the city’s traffic condition, it may take quite a lot of time for the fire-fighters to reach the spot. By the time they reach, the internal processes should have already alerted all occupants to evacuate the buildings immediately.