Mumbai's fire brigade plans to set up 70-meter high water towers across the city

Jan 11, 2018, 08:40 IST | Laxman Singh

The 70-metre towers will come handy while handling blazes in tall bldgs on narrow roads, and in sprawling chawls

Water towers

After constantly facing the challenge of firefighting in narrow and congested areas, where access is difficult, the Mumbai Fire Brigade plans to purchase water tower fire trucks having 70-m long pipes, which will be able to spray water up to a height of 30 metres. After buying a van with the country's tallest snorkel to combat fire in high-rises, this purchase will help the department to extend its reach in such places. Mumbai will be the only fire brigade in the country to have these trucks. It will help to tackle fires in narrow and congested areas with its long pipes.

The fire brigade found it difficult to access Maimoon Manzil in Andheri East, where a fire killed four, due to the narrow road. File pic
The fire brigade found it difficult to access Maimoon Manzil in Andheri East, where a fire killed four, due to the narrow road. File pic

Reaching out
A senior fire official said, "Water tower fire trucks will prove to be a big relief, as 55 per cent of Mumbai's population stays in slums, and most of these places don't have wide access routes for firefighting vehicles. A water tower fire truck will have a ladder fixed to a 70-m long pipe. It can be extended up to 40 metres horizontally towards the fire site. The water jet attached to the platform can spray water up to 30 metres high. "If everything goes as per plan, within the next one year, three of these trucks will be included in the fleet." The fire trucks will cost the BMC about Rs 27 crore and a provision will be made for them in the budget of 2018-19.

Useful in congested areas
Speaking to mid-day, Deputy Chief Fire Officer (technical) R A Choudhary, who looks after the fire brigade's vehicles, said, "As of now, only oil refineries use water tower fire trucks in the country. The Mumbai Fire Brigade will be the first to introduce this vehicle. One truck each will be purchased for the island city, and western and eastern suburbs."

"These vehicles will be very useful in areas with large clusters of slums and old buildings, where firefighting vehicles cannot reach easily. Residential and commercial areas with narrow, congested and encroached lanes delay firefighting," he added. Currently, if a fire occurs in such areas, the firefighting vehicles have to be stationed far from the spot. Firefighters then connect multiple hose lines manually to reach the spot. Crucial time is lost in this process.

The recent fire in Andheri East, which killed four of a family, or fires in slums of Ambedkar Nagar in Cuffe Parade, Garib Nagar in Bandra, and Damu Nagar in Kandivli are a few examples where firefighting was very difficult due to narrow and congested access lanes.

More purchases
In 2015, the Mumbai Fire Brigade had purchased a van with a 90-metre snorkel at a cost of Rs 16 crore for high-rises. It is in the process of purchasing an 81-metre ladder for high-rises. It has also made a provision of Rs 7.5 crore for special Hazmat vans to fight chemical fires in the city.

30m
Height till which water can be sprayed

70m
Length of the pipe on the truck

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