ANDHRA PRADESH

Paigah Plaza unsafe: fire officer

HYDERABAD April 9. The Paigah Plaza complex has been declared as "a very unsafe building" by the Divisional Fire Officer, Hyderabad, after people had a providential escape when fire broke out at around 7.45 a.m. on Wednesday in a Tata enterprise office located in the building.

"Fire tenders were rushed from Musheerabad and Punjagutta and the fire was brought under control with great difficulty as the building had no fire safety systems nor space for us to enter in," the DFO, C. Lakshmi Prasad, said in a statement here on Wednesday.

"Barring a single internal staircase, it has no fire safety systems nor fire exits for evacuation of people. There was no open space all around the building for the operation of hydraulic platform for rescue and fire fighting exercise. Even a major portion of this space was being used for parking," he said.

"Had the fire occurred during peak hours, there would have been a stampede, injuries and even deaths besides immense loss of property," he pointed out. The building houses about 50 offices.

He said furniture and computers were gutted in the fire and the cause of the fire is under investigation. There was no loss of life barring a minor injury to a fireman, Raju, of the Punjagutta fire station.

Mr. Prasad said the fire accident should serve as an eye opener to those working and living in such high-rise buildings that had no fire safety systems. "Only inbuilt fire safety systems like hydrant system, proper approach all around for entry of fire vehicles and equipment, wet risers, automatic detection and alarm systems, underground water system, fire pumps, emergency lighting and external staircases etc., can help us evacuate people and fight fire."