Thane: Mumbra firefighters working out of a stinking pandal

After TMC demolished the fire station in the area, the officials are forced to sit inside a plastic mandap and wait for emergency calls

The plastic pandal from where fire officials have been working
The plastic pandal from where fire officials have been working

Fire brigade officials in Mumbra, where nearly 80 per cent buildings have been declared dangerous, need to be extra vigilant and available 24x7. Unfortunately, their own office is a pandal. After the TMC demolished the fire station in the area, the officials are forced to sit inside a plastic shed and wait for emergency calls. Two years ago, even their residential quarters were razed, forcing them to travel from their homes whenever there is an emergency.

Poor conditions
The station manager sits in a pandal covered with blue cloth, which was built at the time of Ganesh Chaturthi. On the other side, there is a plastic pandal, where the officials sit. An official said, “The pandal was built after Bakri Eid. Hence, it stinks a lot. We need space to take rest and this place is not at all suitable. We hope to get a proper place before monsoon.”

Staff crunch
The Mumbra fire station has 50 officials working in two shifts. In the absence of the quarters they are forced to travel from Titwala, Kalyan and Thane. “During emergencies, we face staff crunch as some officials can’t reach on time,” added the official.

No place to rest
"The authorities were planning to build the shed behind the station house, but as the fire engines and water tankers are parked just in front of it, it would be of no use. If this situation prevails, then how will we work? We are going through a tough time,” the official said.

Officials are also frustrated about the fact that they can’t attend emergency calls on time, as they have to travel from distant places.

Another six months
Ratan Pardesi, divisional officer, Mumbra fire brigade, said it would take another six months for the new fire station to come up. “The authorities have floated tenders... but it will take six months. Till then, we don’t have any option. Also, we have not demolished the complete structure. The ground floor is there so that the officials can keep their equipment.”

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