Residential building converted into godown, says fire official.

The warehouse of a private pesticide company, which was destroyed in a fire at Gollapudi on the outskirts of Vijayawada, lack fire safety norms, according to officials. Fire broke out in Hindustan Pulverising Mills pesticide godown in the early hours on Tuesday.

The building owner, who constructed the structure for residential purpose, allegedly violated the norms and leased it for the godown. The warehouse was not having proper space, ventilators, shutters and the fire-fighting equipment, said the State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department authorities. Meanwhile, company agent P. Guru Prasad, in his complaint to the fire officials, said stocks valued at Rs.3.67 crore were destroyed in fire.

Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday, District Fire Officer V. Srinivas said building owner M. Koteswara Rao, who had taken permission from the local panchayat for a residential house, converted it into a warehouse and leased it to the company.

“As per National Building Code of India (NBCI) rules, the godown should have fire extinguishers, hose reel, yard hydrant, automatic sprinkler system, automatic detection and alarming, fire pumps and underground and overhead water tanks. But, the rules were not followed,” said Mr. Srinivas.

The Hindustan Pulverising Mills officials had not obtained No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department. The cause of fire could be due to poor ventilation and lack of fire safety, he said.

“Many buildings constructed for residential houses in Gollapudi area are being used for commercial purpose, and the residents are staying on the first and second floors of the buildings, which is very dangerous,” said the DFO.

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