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Throwback on India’s 5 worst fire accidents & why there is a prevailing laxity

India has witnessed some of the worst fire accidents in the history of the world and human negligence and lack of proper rules and regulations regarding fire management are the major reasons behind them. Over the years, the country has lost a large number of lives as assets to fire accidents. Here, we will look at India’s 5 worst fire accidents in history and we will also ponder on the reasons for the increasing number of fire accidents in the country. There is a clear lack of a set of rules and regulations to prevent such accidents.

  1. Uphar Fire Tragedy- Delhi

A major fire broke out at Uphaar Cinema situated in Green Park, Delhi on 13 June 1997 during the screening of popular Bollywood movie Border. The disaster claimed the lives of 59 people and injured 103 people. Most of the people died because of suffocation. No fire extinguishers, exit lights, blocked exits and unauthorized shops set up at the exit gates caused the accident.

uphaar fire accident

Uphaar Fire Accident, Source: The First Post

  1. Kumbakonam School Fire – Tamil Nadu

A school situated in the Thanjavur district of the southern state of Tamil Nadu caught fire and took lives of 94 children. The fire erupted in the building that had classrooms of the nursery, primary and secondary wing. The school authorities did not deploy any fire fighting mechanisms, emergency exit plans and the congested area of the school building were to blame.


Fire Safety in Schools in India

Kumbakonam Fire Accident

  1. Mandi Dabwali Fire Accident – Haryana

One of the worst fire accidents in the history of India, Mandi Dabwali fire accident claimed the lives of 300 people, mostly school going children. The pandal set up in the area collapsed due to fire and more than 100 people were injured in the accident.

Dabwali Fire Accident, Source: The Tribune

  1. Brand India Fair Fire accident – Meerut

More than 50 people were charred to death when a major fire broke out at Brand India Fair held in Meerut on April 15, 2006. Reports said that short circuit was the reason behind the dastardly fire that injured even some of the firemen that went inside the complex to douse the fire.

  1. Stephen Court Fire Accident – Kolkata

On January 23, 2004, a fire erupted at the iconic Stephen Court building situated on Park Street. The fire claimed the lives of 42 people and injured many. Absence of proper fire exits and high floors further aggravated the situation for fire tenders.

stephen court

Stephen Court Fire Accident, Source: 24X7 Kolkata

Why Is There A Prevailing Laxity?

In India, according to NCRB ADSI report 2015, 48 people lose their lives on a daily basis due to fire accidents. Given the rising number of accidents, it is the need of the hour that center, state, and union government must enforce strict safety regulations.

Not only it is important to enforce them but it is equally important to make sure that these rules are obeyed and offenders are booked to teach them a lesson. Awareness must be created in masses to help them identify the possible fire hazards in their vicinity and take immediate steps to ensure the safety of buildings including hotels, schools, and other buildings.

Most of the accidents are caused due to electrical short circuits, therefore, a body must be formed to implement strict safety regulations on the electrical equipment.

Beyond Carlton