Residents say they had been exhorting authorities to ban loaded tankers from passing through the West Hill-Chungam area.

Heavy vehicles, especially tanker lorries, passing through the West Hill-Chungam area in the city is a nightmare for residents.

The terrain, which has sharp turns, blind spots, and steep slopes, is a residential spot, houses Defence barracks and a government guest house. It is here that a bullet tanker overturned on an autorickshaw, killing the three-wheeler driver on the spot, on Saturday afternoon. Residents say they had been exhorting authorities to ban loaded tankers from passing through this area. They said the past 24 hours, since the tanker accident, had been a mental drain.

“The smell of the leaking LPG had spread in the entire area. There was no emergency plan. Residents grouped together on Saturday night to patrol the area to keep anti-social elements at bay. We were not confident about the way the personnel responded to the accident,” P. Balakesavan, a resident, said.

But Fire and Rescue Services personnel are unable even to source water quickly in case of emergencies .

A blueprint has been prepared to install 25 fire hydrants at key areas in the city. The Fire and Rescue Services department is also facing a high rate of attrition. Vacancies, despite new recruitments, remain at 30 per cent. As of now, the district has just 15 water tenders, two water lorries, two crash tenders for dousing oil fires, one emergency tender stationed at the Beach station, along with 5 ambulances and one Quick Response Vehicle.

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