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Fire incidents up in Meghalaya

- 34 calls in a day from industrial belts, forest land and residential areas

Shillong, Feb. 27: The state’s fire services received 34 calls yesterday, which could be the highest in the state so far.

The emergency response centre of GVK EMRI Meghalaya — which signed an MoU with the state government November 5, 2008 and launched its 108 emergency response services on February 2, 2009 — received 10 calls, the highest on a single day in the past three years.

Apart from this, the fire service department of Meghalaya police received 24 calls yesterday.

The first call came early in the morning from a house at Garikhana here.

Soon after, two houses were razed at Rwiang in Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills district.

The emergency response centre also received calls from Mairang in West Khasi Hills district at 11.09am, from Madanriting on the outskirts of Shillong in East Khasi Hills at 1.20pm and from Lumkshaid, Mawprem, here at 11.09am as highly combustible products like haystack and bamboo went up in flames.

Incidents of fire were also reported from industrial areas in Umiam (Barapani), Khliehtyrshi in Jaintia Hills and Mawlai Mawiong on the outskirts of Shillong.

Forest-fire related calls came in from Mawlynrei and Lumparing, on the outskirts of Shillong.

Alarmed by the rising incidents of fire on a single day, an official of GVK EMRI, Meghalaya, held a meeting with D. Sangma, superintendent of police (fire service), to discuss the reasons behind such incidents and the ways to prevent them.

Forest fire is a regular occurrence between December and April mainly because of the dry and windy weather. Human error, sources said, also has a big role to play in such incidents.

Sangma urged people to make sure that sources of fire like burning coal, cigarettes, matchsticks and camp fire during picnics are properly put off to prevent the spread of fire. He said people should ensure proper wiring to prevent short-circuit as well as proper maintenance of cooking stoves and LPG cylinders.

The meeting also discussed awareness campaigns and proper coordination between fire service stations and GVK EMRI for swift response to fire-related distress calls, especially in areas with poor transport system and communication network.