The firemen who managed to control the blaze that broke out at the pandal constructed by Munjobacha Bol Mitra Mandal near Shagun Chowk in Narayan Peth yesterday averted a major tragedy.
Senior fire brigade officials said they were surprised when they discovered that the mandal had failed to secure a No-objection Certificate (NoC) from the fire brigade before constructing the pandal. Some even held police responsible for not making it mandatory for Ganesh mandals to the NoC from the fire brigade.
Officials said they received a call around 11.45 am, informing them about the fire, following which a team of firemen comprising Anil Karde, Kamlesh Chaudhary, Harish Bundale, Pandharinath Ubhe and Jitendra Sapate from Kasba Peth and Central Fire Station reached the spot and doused the fire within 10 minutes.
Anil Karde said, “We inspected the entire area, but found nothing abnormal. The wiring in the pandal was also in good condition. We suspect sparks in the overhead wires above the pandalmay have caused the fire.
The exact cause is yet to be ascertained. A major tragedy was averted due to timely action. We have also asked the mandal activists to take necessary precautions.”
Commenting on the incident, Chief Fire Officer Prashant Ranpise said, “We had insisted on making the NoC from fire brigade mandatory for all the mandals. But police authorities issued permissions only on the basis of PMC’s permit.
From experiencewe can tell you that pandals catch fire during Ganeshotsav. If the mandals take authorised connections for their wiring and electrical decorations it will certainly enhance the safety. But currently we have no mechanism in place to verify legality of their connections.”
The other side
DCP (Special Branch) M B Tambde said, “We are already facing criticism for imposing several restrictions on Ganesh mandals. It is the responsibility of the mandal activists to arrange for fire safety equipment to avoid untoward incidents.”