Fire at RBI's BKC buildings: Blaze doused, but questions remain over building's fire-fighting systems

On Friday, at around 8.15 am, a fire broke out on the 8th floor of one of the RBI buildings in BKC. The fire broke out in the office of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) due to a short circuit and soon spread to parts of the floor.

Also read: Major fire at Reserve Bank of India Building in Bandra-Kurla complex

The fire brigade did not have to undertake rescue operations since the offices had not opened for the day. One room was entirely damaged. The fire-fighting systems in the NPCI building also were not available at the hour of need, and it took the fire brigade more than two hours to bring the situation under control. Pic/Tushar Satam
The fire brigade did not have to undertake rescue operations since the offices had not opened for the day. One room was entirely damaged. The fire-fighting systems in the NPCI building also were not available at the hour of need, and it took the fire brigade more than two hours to bring the situation under control. Pic/Tushar Satam

The fire brigade was summoned at 8.27 am and eight fire engines and six water tankers reached the spot within five minutes. Two ambulances were also sent to the spot but the fire brigade did not have to undertake rescue operations since the offices had not opened for the day.

The few people that were inside ran at the news of the fire and thus, nobody was injured. But it took the fire brigade more than two hours to bring the situation under control. “The fire was confined to electric wiring, installation, office records, furniture, computers, false ceiling, etc. of the room,” said P S Rahangdale, chief fire officer.

A question of answers
But just like the fire in Palm Spring building in Malad earlier this week, the fire-fighting systems in the NPCI building also could not be available at the hour of need.

“We tried initiating the systems as soon as we reached but they seemed to be dysfunctional. So, the fire was doused using hosepipes and other traditional equipment, without any support from the building’s equipment. Later, we urged the building administration to repair the automated system and they did it on the spot.

There was a minor technical repair needed. Therefore, no notice was sent,” informed Rahangdale. When asked about the fire, the corporate communications team from NPCI sent the following reply: “Due to a short circuit, a fire broke out at NPCI’s office in one of the RBI Buildings, Bandra Kurla Complex, Friday morning at around 8.15 am.

Due to alertness by the company’s security personnel who were present on site, the situation was quickly brought under control. There have been no cases of human injuries.

The operations of the payment systems by NPCI have been running without any interruption.” However, questions about why the fire-fighting systems did not function, the losses incurred and what measures will be taken for the future went unanswered.

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