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26 Mar 2019, Edition - 1351, Tuesday

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Coimbatore

Chennai Silk fire calls for strict implementation of building norms

Vignesh Vijayakumar

The fire accident at Chennai Silks showroom in Chennai yesterday is an eye opener to ensuring proper safety measures in commercial buildings. Civic activist A Manoj says the concern for this would be short-lived.

“At a place where only four floors should be allowed seven were built. And officials did nothing beyond sending a few notices,” he said, pointing out that in 2011, Chennai Silks was served a demolition notice.

The issue will be hotly debated for sometime before another crops up. There has to be a lasting solution, says Manoj.

There was lack of trained people in industries to handle fire accidents, he said and the fire in Chennai happened much before business hours or else, there would have been casualties.

He felt that the authorities needed to take a look into the condition of buildings in Coimbatore. “Last year, a fire broke out in the Axis Bank building on Avinashi Road,” he points out.

Manoj alleged that a leading textile brand was running its business in a building which had flouted norms and the authorities needed to look into the matter.

District Fire Officer R Kumaresan said, “There are many such buildings in Coimbatore which lack proper safety measures but the fire force can’t take direct action.”

It was for the revenue department to take necessary steps and put a seal on such buildings. The Tamil Nadu Fire Force does not have a Fire Force Act like in Kerala which gives it additional powers and legal ground to undertake inspections, he added.

He had a word of praise for people in the City and said their were of great help to the department. “During the recent fire at Gem Hospital, the authorities there themselves evacuated the patients immediately. That eased our work by 50 per cent,” he said.

Though there were regular training sessions in schools, colleges and industries about how to handle such accidents, public involvement should be trained in early action till the fire force steps in.

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