After receiving criticism from all quarters following a series of fire incidents in the city, the Mumbai Fire Brigade started fresh audits of housing societies and highrises across the city. As part of these audits, in a fortnight the MFB has identified 90 housing societies across 24 administrative wards for non-compliance with mandatory fire safety norms.
According to Hemant Parab -- Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of MFB many of these 90 housing societies have been issued notice to comply with the fire safety norms or face action. "We have issued notices to some in the last 15 days, while others will be issued notices shortly. The audits will continue and our teams will be visiting more structures and inspecting them. If we find any issues, non-compliance, notices will be issued to them too. If they fail to take action and do not comply with the norms in the given time action will be taken against them," Parab said.
MFB has deployed teams of officers, who have started visiting the buildings for inspection at the ward level. These recent fire audits are the results of a series of fire incidents in the last couple of months.
As per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act, 2006, each housing society/building structure are given a maximum of four months to take action and repair the faulty fire-fighting system and complete the maintenance work, failing to do so in the given time will attract action.
The fire brigade’s notice to the housing society states that if the society fails to comply with the prescribed safety norms in the stipulated time then the building, as per rules, will be declared unsafe and electricity and water connection will be severed. Besides, legal action will be taken against the office-bearers of the society.
The fire brigade inspects the fire-fighting system in multi-storey/high-rise buildings and issues 'No Objection' certificates. After inspection, the defects/violation in the system are brought to the notice of the concerned person and a ‘No Objection’ certificate is issued subject to rectification/compliance. However, there is no re-checking / audit of whether the system has been rectified or not.
Parab said: "There have been incidents, wherein we have found out that fire fighting systems installed in the building are lying defunct in many such high rises and building structures. After acquiring, NOC and setting up fire fighting systems, the system is then not maintained by many. The recent examples are the fire at One Avighna and the most recent one Prime Mall, it was found that fire fighting systems are not checked or maintained from time to time as they should be."
Fires in the city since September
November 19: Prime mall, Irla at Vile Parle
November 18: At Sai Auto Hyundai showroom, Powai
November 16: At Samsung Service Centre, Kanjurmarg
November 12: At Mankhurd scrap godown
November 7: At Hansa Heritage, Kandivli (2 dead)
October 22: At One Avighna Park, Currey Road (1 dead)
September 17: At Mankhurd scrap godown