Diwali fire incidents at all-time high this year

About 40 fire accidents have been reported this year, compared to three last year and 17 incidents in 2009

This year, Diwali was not only a lot noisier for Punekars but also the city witnessed about 40 firecracker related accidents including two major mishaps at Mundhwa and Hadapsar, reported in the three days of the festival.

Fire officials claimed that this year the number of accidents had seen a steep increase compared to the last two years. PMC Fire brigade chief, Prashant Ranpise, said, "This is probably the highest number of incidents in the last two years. In 2010 only three fire incidents had taken place while in 2009, 17 incidents were reported."

Playing with fire: About 25 firecracker accidents took place on the day
of Laxmi Poojan. A medical shop at Central Street on M G Road and a
tyre godown also caught fire because of firecrackers. File pic

25 mishaps
About 25 firecracker accidents had taken place during Laxmi Pooja when reportedly a maximum number of crackers are burnt in the city. A medical shop at Central Street on M G Road caught fire because of a rocket, while a tyre godown at Vaidwadi in Mundhwa also caught flames because of firecrackers. Ranpise said that most of the fire accidents in the city had taken place due to the aerial fireworks. "We wonder how so many accidents took place even though safety was ensured and programmes about the safe use of fire crackers were conducted," he added.

No leave for firemen
About 500 firemen were working on holidays or weekly offs to tackle any fire accident. Ranpise said, "We were working even on Sunday so that our staff would be available to tackle any kind of fire accidents during the post Diwali celebrations." Chandrakant Amrale, President, Fire Crackers Association, Pune, said, "Though there was a comparatively less sale of fire crackers this year, people especially the business community had purchased maximum fancy aerial fire crackers. "We always instruct our customers on how to use these items safely," he said.

Trupti Desai, president of the NGO Bhumata Brigade, said that nor the PMC or the police officials are taking responsibilities for the fire accidents. "The city is already under a terrorist threat and 40 such fire accidents are alarming, there should be some control measures for the use of fire crackers," she remarked.

Noise pollution also on the rise
>> According to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the noise pollution levels this year were 15 per cent higher than last year
>> Highest recorded decibels: 105.8 db
>> Noise pollution was higher in following areas: Shivajinagar, Aundh, Khadki, Laxmi road, Laxmi Nagar and Parvati

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