Vishal Mega Mart fire: No safety equipment, fire-dept notices ignored, says Mohali SDM’s report
The SCO in Phase 5 was among the 200-odd violators which were issued notices in September
Eleven days after a fire broke out at Vishal Mega Mart in Phase-5 market, Jagdeep Sehgal, Mohali’s sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), in his fact-finding report stated that not only did the building lack fire equipment, it did not even adhere to notices given by the fire department last year.
The building had no fire extinguisher and no hose reels installed. A smoke detection alarm system was not in place, there were no illuminated exit signs or smoke check doors, and no fire-control room or fire lifts with firemen switch, the report stated.
Regarding the structural safety of building, the SDM has asked the owners to furnish its structural stability certificate. Regarding the adjoining SCOs that house Kalyan Jewellers, Talwar Jewellers and other establishments, the buildings were found to be safe as they had structural stability certificates.
On February 29, the multi-brand retail store (SCO No 5 and 6) situated on the ground floor and basement was gutted, along with the first floor of the building housed the restaurant Barbeque Nation, a salon and the microbrewery The BrewMaster on the top floor. The basement housed garments of children, men and women besides soft toys. Cartons of ghee were also stocked in one corner which added fuel to the fire.
After a fire audit in the district last September, Vishal Mega Mart was among 200-odd violators that were issued notices, but the management failed to take corrective measures.
As per sources, the SDM in his report has also mentioned the acute shortage of staff in the fire department and recommended that its manpower be increased and modern fire equipment be procured. Regarding shortage of staff, the fire department is the worst hit, with only five drivers for 12 fire tenders. Also, there are only 11 firefighters employed against the 80 sanctioned posts.
Aashika Jain, the officiating deputy commissioner said, “Although, I haven’t got the report yet, but strict action will be taken against the management of the Vishal Mega Mart. We will not compromise with fire safety violations.”