Officials never had a mock drill

Jun 22, 2012, 07:42 IST | Rinkita Gurav

Evacuated Mantralaya officials speaking to MiD DAY said that they did not hear fire alarms go off till 15 minutes after the blaze, complained that they were unprepared as a mock safety drill had never been carried out

After a major fire ravaged the Mantralaya, questions are now being raised about the readiness and safety measures being adopted at the state’s most important building. According to rules, it is mandatory for public places to have security and safety audits every quarter but after the fire at Mantralaya yesterday, officials noticed several lapses.

Out of reach: People got out of the building through windows and took refuge on the wall parapet to save themselves from the raging blaze. Pic/Shadab Khan

Staffers were evacuated within 20 minutes of the fire. However, Mantralaya bureaucrats said that till date not a single mock drill had been carried out in the building.

Additionally, they hadn’t heard an alarm going off. “We had been inside the building for 15-20 minutes when we heard the alarm,” said a staffer. A senior BMC official said, “The smoke detectors did not go off and the alarm went off late.”

And even as questions raged about the ineffectiveness of the fire brigade, Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, “It is too early to comment on the fire hydrants or the fire tenders reaching late.” She added that safety audit of the Mantralaya was the responsibility of the Disaster Management cell.  

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