Officials of Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) involved in rescue operations at Safal Pegasus were of the opinion that the design of the building was not such that it would help trapped people in case of a fire.
Rajesh Bhatt, additional chief fire officer, AFES, said that the stairs are not adequately lit by natural light which made it difficult for people to use it when there was no electricity.
“There are large, round-shaped open spaces from the second floor to the seventh floor. But the stairs have a wall running alongside on the first and the top floors. This makes it very difficult to see far if there is no electricity,” said Bhatt. Similarly, chief fire officer MF Dastoor also raised concerns about the fire safety system of the building.
“A fire alarm system is installed in the building. They had even acquired NOC from us. But the system didn’t work when it was supposed to. When we checked, we found that someone had pulled out the switches of the instruments and that is why the alarm didn’t go off,” said Dastoor. He said he had asked for an explanation from the authorities of Safal.
“Unless we get an assurance that this will not be repeated, we will not allow members to use the complex,” said Dastoor.
The smoke was so thick that it left a black coating in the lobby of each floor. This happened possibly because there was no vent, the fire officials said. For the same reason, people trapped on the top floors were unable to find a way out, the officials added.