Averting fires at Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram


Mini-fire station, water tanks, fire hydrants to be installed

The Fire and Rescue Services Department will establish a mini-fire station, high capacity water tanks, and fire hydrants at the Secretariat to augment firefighting measures in the State’s administrative nerve centre.

The plan was taken up after a fire audit brought to light the vulnerability of the 140-plus-year-old complex to fire, with a major portion of its structure, including the staircases, made of wood. Narrow corridors are carpeted with coir mats.

The mini-station will come up near the Indian Coffee House inside the complex, for which the Public Works Department has prepared a plan. A fire engine and 15 firefighters would be deployed in the station, which would be operational next year, a senior official with the Fire and Rescue Services Department told The Hindu.

The fire hydrants would be connected to the Kerala Water Authority’s main pipelines, thereby ensuring uninterrupted water supply. In addition to the existing 350 fire extinguishers installed in various blocks, the department had procured 10 portable and trolley-mounted fire extinguishers, exclusively for fire dousing operations in the Secretariat. Two tanks, which would store 5 lakh litres of water each, were being installed.

The government had sanctioned Rs.1.27 crore to install firefighting equipment in the Secretariat. The fire audit had suggested immediate measures as the historic complex does not comply with all the fire safety measures prescribed under the National Building Code of India.

The audit had noted the presence of around 7,000 persons, including 5000 staff, at any given time during week days. It noted that delay in responding to a fire would lead to a catastrophe, particularly in the absence of fire escape routes. The building, for which the foundation stone was laid in 1865 by the then ruler of Travancore, Ayilyam Tirunal Rama Varma, was completed in 1869. The design and construction were monitored by Barton, the then chief engineer of Travancore.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:47:40 PM |

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