Monday, November 29, 1999

`Internal fire fighting system of building was not functional`

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Mumbai, May 17 -- The internal fire fighting system of the A-wing of Presidency Towers a flat was allegedly non functional. Called the Riser system, being non functional it delayed the process of fire fighting. "The fire fighting system was installed but was not maintained over the years and had turned obsolete," said Atmaram Shinde, deputy chief officer. The system consists of an underground tank and overhead tank which is connected through a riser and has an outlet at every floor and when a fire breaks the fire brigade can use it to douse the fire. The civic body had made it mandatory for all buildings with more than 13 storeys to have their own fire fighting system after the Thane Tarangan complex fire in which six firemen died due to suffocation in the lift. "Our firemen are equipped to fight fire externally till the 13th floor, which is the worldwide standard," said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, incharge of the fire department. The civic body has also decided to upgrade its equipment. "Even after the upgrade, we will be able to fight fire till 20 floors," Mhaiskar added. The civic body has only one aerial ladder platform that can reach up to only 70 metres or 20 storeys. Fire brigade officials have now felt the need to restrict the height of the buildings. The 15th floor flat of Presidency Towers that caught fire was entirely engulfed due to the wooden furniture in it. A 60-year-old woman Lata Duggal was killed in the fire. She had sustained severe burns and was taken to Rajawadi hospital where she was declared dead on admission.

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