Fire safety at Swapnalok was given the go-by despite recent warning, say officials

March 17, 2023 11:37 pm | Updated March 18, 2023 12:05 am IST - HYDERABAD

Two upper floors of Swapnalok Complex, Secunderabad, gutted in Thursday’s inferno. Six persons died of suffocation in the incident.

Two upper floors of Swapnalok Complex, Secunderabad, gutted in Thursday’s inferno. Six persons died of suffocation in the incident. | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

The Swapnalok Complex in Secunderabad, where a major blaze broke out on Thursday evening, leading to the death of six persons, had fire safety equipment but they were not functional, Fire Services officials have said.

The complex, which is a G+8 building with a cellar and 32 metres high, houses over 1,000 commercial establishments. It had been inspected in the aftermath of the Deccan Mall fire in January 2023, when the fire safety team had pointed out certain deficiencies in the firefighting systems and advised remedial measures, but it was not complied with.

DG of Fire Safety, Y.Nagi Reddy said the building owners had been prosecuted in 2013 for violation of Fire Prevention and Fire Safety measures. 

“A call was received by the Fire Control Room at 7.31 p.m. on Thursday, informing that smoke was billowing from behind the building. Ten firefighting vehicles were rushed to the spot from across the city. Initially, fire ignited in the electrical duct and spread to the fifth floor of the building. Kedia Infotech Pvt. Ltd., which was functioning from there, had furniture, computer installations and other materials,” he said.

The smoke from the fire completely spread through the building and due to the raging blaze and thick smoke, “the Simon snorkel ladder, another smoke exhauster and Multi-Purpose Tenders were rushed to the spot”, he added.  

Mr.Reddy said rescue teams, with the help of specialised ladders, rescued the inmates from the office of Kedia Infotech. Wearing breathing apparatus, they combed through all the floors to evacuate others trapped inside the building.

“The Bronto skylift was pitched at the back of the building and a rescue operation started. Initially, five people were rescued from the fifth floor and later five more were rescued from the terrace and two from the fourth floor. While all 12 individuals, with minor injuries, were sent to the hospital, we were informed by one of the employees that six people were missing and were suspected to be trapped on the fifth floor. Our team entered the building and started a search operation and found the six persons in an unconscious state in an office on the fifth floor,” he recalled.

They were all brought down and rushed to the hospital for immediate medical attention. However, they were later declared dead, due to asphyxia.

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