B’luru Sees At Least 1 Bldg Fire Incident Every Day | Bengaluru News – Times of India


Bengaluru: The fire and emergency department, which has 38% of its overall sanctioned posts vacant as on date, has been fighting at least one building fire incident in Bengaluru every day on average, while the state reports more than three, data for more than five years shows.
Between January 1, 2017 and March 10, 2022, the state has seen 5,144 building fire incidents, with Bengaluru accounting for 55% of them.

A break-up for Bengaluru shows the east zone reports the most incidents — 858 in the said period — followed by the south zone (766), west (720) and north (505). Most fires are caused by short circuits, while other major causes for fire in buildings are gas leakage, chemical leaks and cigarettes.
At 1,889, short circuits have caused more than 66% of all building fires reported in the city between 2017 and March 10, 2022. Gas leak is the reason for 785 such fires, followed by fires started by cigarettes (82), those caused because of oil leak (50) and chemical leak (41).
K Shivakumar, director, Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services, told TOI: “Aside from building fires, we handle at least 7-10 cases per day in Bengaluru alone, at scrapyards, factories, garbage dumps, garages and small houses. In other districts, there are fewer calls per day.” He said that in the districts, the department handles three calls a day compared to Bengaluru. In the capital, he added, there have even been days where the department has handled up to 15 calls in the summer season.
On the challenges of handling so many calls while battling a significant staff crunch, Shivakumar said: “In about a month’s time, we will complete the process of hiring 1,567 firefighters, which will leave very few vacancies in this category. Otherwise, not all the vacancies are of firefighters; it includes other categories too.”
Data on staff shows that of the 7,086 posts of all categories sanctioned for the department, 2,678 are vacant. Of these 2,678, nearly 68% (1,842) are firefighters.
“We are hiring firefighters on priority. We are not in a dire situation as over the years, we’ve roped in the services of more than a 1,000 home guards who also have training in extinguishing fire. While in Bengaluru they mostly handle station duties, they are also deployed for firefighting in the districts,” Shivakumar said.
Of the 2,678 vacancies, the major categories are: 104 fire station officers, 123 additional fire station officers, 119 chief firefighters and 348 drivers.

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