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Fire incident in Bangalore mall lays bare safety flaws

Security officials did not follow the primary rule followed in case of a fire incident—evacuation. 4-wheelers parked were not cleared.

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Ameen Khan

Updated: Sep 26, 2011, 02:24 PM IST

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A minor fire incident at Sigma Mall on Cunningham road ruined a movie outing for many on Saturday. And Fun Cinemas cancelled many movie screenings due to safety reasons. While Fun Cinemas’ staffers were refunding the ticket amount to customers, the mall’s security officials chose to throw all safety procedures to the wind.

They did not follow the primary rule followed in case of a fire incident—evacuation. Four wheelers parked in the basement were not cleared either.

In a reality check carried out by DNA in 2009 following the Forum Mall fire incident, Sigma Mall assistant general manager Amathi L had conducted checks on electrical equipment and cables with an electrical inspector in tow. Mall manager RK Roy was quoted saying, “We are well-equipped. The staff have been receiving regular training to tackle any kind of fire accident.”

On Saturday, the incident took place at 1.30pm on Saturday due to a short circuit in an electrical duct. The fumes reached the topmost floor.

Kalpana Sridhar, a witness, said, “We saw a cloud of smoke emanating from the building premises and informed the officials, who said they were aware of it and a team has been working on dousing the fire. They provided this information only after we approached them. The officials did not take any initiative to evacuate the premises”.

Regional fire officer Manjunath said: “It was a minor fire incident. The cables at the electrical ducts were charred. Four vehicles reached the spot following repeated anonymous calls from the people at the mall.”

Keshav Shivkumar, an eyewitness, said, “ I came to watch a movie but Fun Cinemas said the show was cancelled. In the basement, I noticed that the security officials were trying to put off the fire using a fire extinguisher, but it was of little help. The authorities should have informed the people to, at least, clear their vehicles.”

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