Despite the Supreme Court putting restriction on the unabated use of firecrackers and authorities cracking down on the illegal sale of crackers, the number of fire related calls received by the fire department have reportedly increased this year on “Diwali” as compared to that of the last year. Also it is highest in the last 12 years (except for year 2015).
The break up data shows that the highest numbers of fire related calls i.e. 82 were received in between 2 pm and 8 pm which shows that the highest fire related accidents and panic calls happened at the time when there was ban of burning of fire-crackers by Apex Court. It is pertinent to mention that the burning of fire-crackers was allowed between 8 pm to 10 pm only.
The stats released by the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) shows that this year 273 fire related calls were received contrary to the 204 and 243 received in 2017 and 2016 respectively. These figures also reveals that except for the year 2015 when the fire related calls were recorded at 290 the figures this year are highest in last 12 years.
Fires were also reported from factories and at houses due to domestic items and electrical wires, DFS officials said. Maximum calls were received from west and northwest districts of Delhi.
Authorities responded to over 273 calls about the fire incidents most of them triggered by firecrackers and LPG cylinder blast among others. Among the total calls “animal rescue” calls received were 5. In Delhi officials informed that during “Diwali” night incidents happened in which two children were killed and two others were injured.
A DFS official said that though the number of fire-related calls was more as compared to previous years, there has been a decline in cases of fire triggered by burning of firecrackers. The officials, however, did not provide any exact break-up.
The ‘startling’ figures showing the increase in fire-related emergency calls is in stark contrast to the fact that the use of firecrackers in Delhi on Deepawali has apparently come down over the years over concerns about pollution and due to restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court on their sale and use.
Implicitly there were rampant violations of the Apex Court order and people in several cities burst firecrackers until at least midnight, two hours after the deadline.
In the fatal incident in a slum near Filmistan Cinema in the Sadar Bazar area, two children -- Ganesh (10) and Swati (8) -- were killed. Their mother Suman (28) and brother Dhruv (5) suffered 55 per cent and 70 per cent burn injuries respectively and were admitted to a hospital, said the DFS officer. The fire reportedly started from an LPG cylinder and spread to their shanty around 2.18 AM.
There was also a call about fire at a factory in the Bawana area. No casualties were reported in the factory fire and 18 fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the blaze.
“The fire broke out at the factory in outer Delhi’s Bawana locality. The call about the fire was received at 6:37 pm and immediately 18 fire tenders were rushed to the spot,” the officer said. Out of the total calls, 89 were fire at garbage and dump yards.
The DFS have made elaborate arrangements and preparations to deal with the fire-accidents on Deepawali as besides the 59 permanent fire stations in the national capital, the department had set up temporary stations in different locations across the city to attend to calls of fire.