Firemen fight poisonous fumes, falling glass panes in CP

There was very poor visibility inside due to thick smoke

Firefighters involved in dousing flames at the A-Block building in Connaught Place had to fight poisonous fumes, sealed windows, single entry and exit point as well as falling glass panes and false ceilings.

Three of the four firemen injured while trying to enter the burning portions of the building had glass pieces piercing through their limbs.

One of those injured, Naresh Kumar, was holding a branch of a tree in a bid to break the window pane.

However, a glass piece entered his right hand, forcing him to seek medical help. Covering his hand in a bandage, he returned to work within moments of the treatment.

Entry into the burning parts of the building proved to be the toughest in the entire operation. “The windows of the NIIT centre were all blocked by almirahs. Despite breaking the window panes, entry through those routes was difficult,” said Dr G C Mishra, Chief Fire Officer, Delhi Fire Service.

“There were several air-conditioners in the packed centre which left no scope for smoke to exit,” he said, adding this also would extend the cooling period. The materials stacked by the windows were immovable which also resulted in the accumulation of poisonous gas and smoke inside.

There was an extensive use of plywood to separate rooms and furniture. It was in abundance and only helped the fire spread making movement difficult for the firefighters.

Firefighting official Vipin Kental told this newspaper that there was very poor visibility inside owing to the dense smoke. 

“We had to remove every furniture, each item inside to move ahead. Also, there is only one entrance. We entered and reached the end of the rooms only after clearing everything on the way,” said Kental. All through the way, they had portions of the false ceiling collapsing over them.

“The fire was also inside the false ceiling because of which the extinguishing of the flames took time,” said another fire department official on emerging from the building.

When the fire spread to the inner portions of the building, firefighters had to use a crane to reach from behind, break some parts with hammers and drills and then make an entry.

Meanwhile, Mishra said prima facie, there appears to be no violation of fire norms inside the affected building.

“There are no statutory norms for most of these buildings in CP due to their low heights,” he said. 

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