Carlton Fire Accident – will we ever learn?



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The whole city was buzzing with the news of the unfortunate fire accident at Carlton towers, a well known landmark in East Bangalore near the bustling Indiranagar Flyover. There are too many loose ends as usual to the story. No setbacks to the building, all emergency exits were locked (astonishing part of the irony), fire tenders could not reach more than fourth floor, no water nearby and only fire tender in Karnataka to have hydraulic ladders. Neither did fire alarms did not go off in the building, and nor did the water sprinklers.

This was a recipe for perfect disaster and disaster it was – or should I say a shame to the government with due respects. 108 is a great effort by the CM as a nice service to have. Believe me I have personally used 108 and found it ultra effective. Its free as well. But what about FIRE ? The fire engines, equipments, and firemen all belong to 1980 era. Unfortunately no government has spent any money on upgrading the fire handling infrastructure and this is a biggest shame for an IT capital of a country like ours. What more can I say if a water hose does not reach more than fourth floor of a building.

I am totally disqualified to talk of people within that building on that day since I can only feel bad about what they went through, but then one of the basic steps during a fire is to lie low on the floor, with a wet handkerchief around your mouth and nose and start crawling towards the nearest exit. Alas, the biggest cruelty in this accident was to keep the emergency exits locked and the person responsible for this act must be handed the highest sentence as a lesson to learn. If punishment brings about education, then thats what we need today.

The firemen did their best, risked their lives, and are also in the ICU thanks to no gas masks!!! Dear Yeddy, what we need is an urgent order for gas masks of the highest technical capability for our firemen. If they cant help us, we cant help ourselves as well. Even as you read this blog post in every corner of every sub registrar’s office one property violation is being overlooked every 10 minutes. And the blatant fact is that these offices of impurity tell us that “the government has fixed charges for this deal” – may I know what is the meaning of charges here?

Yeddy I know you are a person who feels bad if something happens to the 10 crore people of Karnataka. Well, in the Carlton case, it was only 10 people. Which should still make you feel bad, and lose your sleep. Take the same action what you would if these 10 people were from your own family. Punishment is only one remedy. Enhancement of fire fighting capabilities is the NEXT BIGGEST CHALLENGE. Are we geared up for this?

Picture this: As the fire alarm sets off in my company, and I proceed to take the nearest emergency exit, some people continue working as though nothing happened, some people hear to the alarm as though its AR Rahman’s next pop hit, and some people say “they get annoyed” asking the security to switch it off as soon as possible. And some go to the cafeteria to take a break. Reason given: Its a usual occurence !!

It takes half an hour for fire to engulf entire floors. And suffocate you to death. The next time an alarm rings – GET THE HELL OUT OF THE BUILDING, it would be well worth an attempt. Atleast you can come to office the next day.