3 firemen killed; 6 injured as building collapses in Jammu

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 2/13/2020 11:06:25 AM

JAMMU, Feb 12: In a tragic incident, three firemen were killed and six others, including four civilians, sustained injuries on Wednesday when a three-storey building collapsed in Jammu outskirts when fire department personnel were trying to put out a blaze.
The building, housing a saw mill with huge stock of timber, had caught fire in the morning and while fire fighting operation was on, it collapsed due to intense heat further triggered by an explosion of a gas cylinder. The situation had become graver as the building was in a very congested area.
The rescue operation took time as those engaged in the job had to make an approach through the debris to reach the trapped persons under the rubble.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu Sanjeev Verma, while describing the incident as “tragic”, stated that the administration was looking into the cause of the fire. “It is a matter of investigation whether the building was unsafe,” he said.
Director General of Fire and Emergency Services, V K Singh said that the firemen got trapped to death during a fire-fighting operation when a building, housing a saw mill on the ground floor in Golepulli area of Tallab Tillo in Jammu outskirts, collapsed during efforts to douse the fire in same building.
“We lost three personnel in the incident, while six persons -- four civilians and two firemen -- were rescued in an injured condition and were evacuated to a hospital,” Singh who supervised the rescue operation, told reporters here.
Soon after the incident, the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and police rushed to the scene and were later joined by a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to rescue the trapped persons. After hectic efforts, the bodies of the three trapped fire-fighters identified as Vimal Kumar Raina, Rattan Chand and Mohammad Aslam were retrieved from under the debris, Singh said.
He said the fire department rushed fire-fighters after receiving a distress call at 4.48 AM and were making efforts to put out the blaze when suddenly the building collapsed at 5.30 AM.
“We rescued four trapped civilians in the morning while two of our personnel suffered injuries. All the rescued persons were evacuated and taken to a hospital,” Singh said, adding that while one of the firemen was being treated for serious burn injuries, the other was undergoing treatment for head injuries.
“There was a huge stock of timber in the saw mill and a gas cylinder also exploded during the fire as a result of which the building collapsed due to intense heat,” the DG said. He said the NDRF team was mobilized from Pathankot to assist in the rescue operation.
Later lauding the role of the fire and emergency department in restricting the blaze in the congested area, Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma said despite suffering casualties, the fire-fighters did a tremendous job in controlling the fire and rescuing trapped civilians.
“It is a tragic incident and we are looking into the cause of the fire. It is a matter of investigation whether the building was unsafe,” he told reporters. An official of the NDRF said they got the call at around 6 AM and joined the rescue effort around 8.30 AM.
"The rescue operation took time as we have to make an approach through the debris to reach the trapped persons," he said, adding that no one else is believed to be trapped under the rubble.
During rescue operation, first the bodies of two fire-fighters Vimal Kumar Raina and Rattan Chand, were retrieved. Later, the body of the third fireman, identified as Mohammad Aslam, was retrieved. Earlier DG Fire and Emergency Services had told reporters, “It is believed that none of the civilians were trapped under the debris after we rescued four civilians in the morning while two of our personnel suffered injuries.”
The team of NDRF was mobilized from Pathankot and it assisted in the rescue operation, he said.
DG Fire and Emergency Services VK Singh also conveyed his deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families. He highlighted that the supreme sacrifice by the fire fighters in the discharge of duty was in line with the highest traditions of J&K Fire and Emergency Services.
Later Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu expressed grief over the death of three fire-fighters, an official spokesperson said. In his condolence message, the Lt Governor prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief, he said.
Murmu directed the administration to provide the best-possible medical treatment to the injured, the spokesman said. The Lt Governor lauded the valour of the fire-fighters and observed that they always remained at the forefront during a fire outbreak or any other such emergency situations. Meanwhile, Director General of Police, Fire and Emergency Services, V K Singh briefed the Lt Governor about the health condition of the injured fire-fighters, the official said. He added that Murmu stressed on the importance of generating awareness regarding fire safety norms in all public buildings to avoid any such incidents in the future.
In the meanwhile, the official statement from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said, “Today at 0450 hours a message was received at Fire Control Room Gandhi Nagar that a fire has broken out at a Saw Mill near Gole Pulley, Talab Tiloo, Jammu. Immediately fire tenders were pressed into service from Fire Stations Canal, Roop Nagar, City and Gandhi Nagar Headquarters. Fire-fighters sought to douse the flames and while the operation was in progress, the building collapsed around 0535 hours.”
“Five Fire Service personnel were trapped under the collapsed structure. Two of them viz Puran Singh LFM, Satpaul LFM, were rescued immediately besides four civilians, who were shifted to GMC Bakshi Nagar. Rescue operation was started with the help of SDRF and police to trace Rattan Chand LFM of Fire Station Canal, Mohammed Aslam LFM of Fire Station Canal and Vimal Raina Fireman of Fire Station Roop Nagar Jammu who were missing. After great efforts the trapped fire-fighters were evacuated in unconscious condition and shifted to GMC Bakshi Nagar Jammu where they were declared brought dead by hospital authorities,” the statement read.
“VK Singh DG Fire & Emergency Services J&K personally monitored the operation and he was assisted by RK Raina AD Kathua/Samba, DFO Hqrs, and DFO City besides team of SDRF 2nd Battalion and NDRF 7th Battalion from Pathankot. VK Singh also visited GMC Bakshi Nagar to see injured personnel. He conveyed his deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families. He highlighted that the supreme sacrifice by the fire fighters in the discharge of duty is in line with the highest traditions of J&K Fire and Emergency Services,” it added.
Later in the day, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar also visited Government Medical College Jammu here and met the victims, who suffered injuries, in the incident. During his visit, Advisor Bhatnagar asked the medical officers to ensure that those injured be given the best possible medical care.
He asked the doctors to make every effort in order to save the lives of the injured. He also interacted with the injured fire services personnel. The Advisor was accompanied by Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh; SSP Jammu, Shridhar Patil and other officers.
Later the Advisor also visited the site of the blaze in Golepulli area of Talab Tillo to oversee the rescue and fire fighting operation and interacted with the NDRF and other personnel working there.

 

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