The recent fire in Jivesh Terrace at Bandra Bandstand, where the firefighting system was non-functional, has raised fresh questions over fire safety of highrises.According to latest data from the Mumbai Fire Brigade, of the 329 buildings which were randomly inspected between November 2021 and April 2022, 151 buildings were issued notices for non-compliance with fire safety measures.
The notices were served under Section 6 of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006. As per this section, it is the owners’ or occupiers’ liability to provide for fire prevention and life safety measures.
A senior fire official, on condition of anonymity, said: “In highrises, one of the most common violations is staircases being encroached. This is because residents use the lift every day and staircases are used only in an emergency.” Other common violations include lack of sprinklers, fire alarms and smoke detectors, the official added.
Monday’s fire at Jivesh Terrace started in a duplex on the 13th and 14th floors and was confined to the electrical duct. At least 21 residents were evacuated and a turntable ladder was used to douse the flames. A senior fire official said the building’s firefighting system was defunct which delayed the firefighting.
At present, Mumbai has around three lakh buildings that are assessed for property tax.
A 126-page detailed investigation report into the blaze at the 20-storey Sachinam Heights in Tardeo on January 22, which claimed nine lives, had given several recommendations to avoid such fires including making inspection doors of electric shafts at every floor of a highrise fire resistant for at least two hours. Other recommendations by the report included making appointment of a fire audit agency mandatory at least for two years while granting occupational certificate to a developer.