Odisha has recorded the highest number of deaths due to fire in commercial buildings out of 149 cases across the country in 2014, revealed statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Fire safety arrangements continue to be poor in a majority of commercial establishments in Odisha, leading to the death of 40 people in 2014.
It is a must for commercial buildings to obtain a fire safety clearance certificate from the Fire Prevention Wing of the office of the Directorate General, Fire Service before starting operations. However, many commercial establishments do not get these clearance certificates due to the allegedly lackadaisical attitude of planning authorities.
M. Nageswar Rao, additional director general of police (ADGP) Fire Services, said, "It is the duty of the planning bodies to send proposals for fire safety clearances to us. Our officials inspect the measures by visiting the establishments. But in several cases, the planning bodies do not refer to us for clearance."
The BCRB data revealed that 712 people died in fires in 2014, and blazes at residential buildings were responsible for 140 deaths. A fire service official said, "In residences and commercial establishments, the main reason for fires is short circuit. This happens due to the carelessness of people who often forget to switch off electrical appliances."