Ex-IGP saves kin, ignores others

Ex-IGP saves kin, ignores others

After the fire: Heroes and villains emerge

Could a retired Inspector General of Police of Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services have saved at least a couple of lives in the Carlton Tower fire tragedy? The answer is in the affirmative.

The officer would have been a samaritan had he applied his common sense and shown a little concern, says a senior officer of the Fire Force. The retired officer’s granddaughter works in the Carlton Towers. She called up her grandfather at 4 pm on that ill-fated day and told him about the fire in the building.

The retired official kept talking to her on his cellphone, probably giving her instructions, on how to come out of the building. The granddaughter came out of the building safely and he disconnected the call after her exit without even bothering to inform the fire force personnel!

“If the fire personnel were informed immediately at 4 pm, we could have reached the spot within 4.30 pm. But by the time the first fire force officer reached the spot, it was already 4.45 pm and a few employees had already jumped off the seventh floor. We could have saved them if we were on the spot within 4.30 pm.

“A bit of common sense, presence of mind and a little concern by the retired officer were all that mattered at that point of time,” said B K Hampagol, Deputy Director (Technical) Karnataka Fire Force & Emergency Services.

Investigation

Presently, the fire officials are compiling the data they collected over the two days and will submit a report to the Home Department shortly. The officers withdrew a fire tender from the spot on Friday. Things are returning to normalcy in the building premises slowly.
Meanwhile, employees who were working in different offices in all the seven floors, were allowed to go inside on Friday.

Around 60 employees visited their offices between 10 am till 5 pm. They checked their belongings and verified them. The missing passport of a Finnish national has also been traced. No employee has approached the police regarding missing of valuables, the police said. However, there is not much progress in the investigation as the police are yet to receive inspection reports from various agencies.

No delay says Fire dept

The Fire and Emergency Department has in the meantime rubbished reports of being unable to save the people trapped in the Carlton Towers. Reports on Friday had suggested that the Fire Department were late in arriving at the Carlton Towers to rescue those trapped.

“We dispatched the vehicles at 4.31 pm, a minute after we received a call from Akhil Uday about the smoke engulfing the towers. If people knew of the smoke at 4 pm, as suggested by some, why did they not inform us?” asked Hampagol, Fire and Emergency Department. The official added that it was a baseless allegation that the fire force officers requested those trapped in sixth and seventh floor to jump down.

Courage amidst danger

There were many who donned the Good Samaritan’s role to save lives at the Carlton Towers. But the deeds of Tamil Selvan and K V Venkatesh merits special mention.
Selvan, an employee of Manipal Education found his way through the thick smoke screen in the corridors and reached the seventh floor, where, with the help of the firemen and others managed to evacuate seven persons.

He showed great presence of mind in running to the roof top to switch off the generator. Just as well as there were huge barrels of diesel stored for the gen sets up there.
K V Venkatesh of India Skills was another who used his expertise in fire fighting to contribute to the situation just outside the building. His experience in safety and disaster management came handy for the Chief Fire Officer, Karnataka who summoned his services to assist them at the Towers.

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