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Tall fighters to douse flames
23 storeys within reach of ladders

Bhubaneswar, July 9: The Odisha Fire Service has inducted two modern fire fighting trucks, known as Bronto firefighters, to tackle mishaps in high-rises, even buildings with as many as 23 storeys (75 metres high).

The two vehicles also called sky lift are manufactured in Finland. They are considered to be particularly efficient in fighting fires in multi-storey buildings. At present, the city has more than 30 buildings, which have more than 10 floors.

Fire officer (central range) B.B. Das said the two firefighters would help the city that was growing vertically.

“Digitally controlled, the two machines will help increase the efficiency of firemen,” he said.

The hydraulic ladders of the firefighting trucks are fitted with telescopic cage boom from where water can be sprayed at maximum speed to douse the flames.

“The vehicle needs ample space to reach the spot and for its ladders to open up properly. Within one or two minutes, the ladder would reach at the level of the floor on fire. That makes it easy to control the blaze,” said a fire officer.

He said that builders should follow the norms and leave adequate space around high-rise apartments for movement of these vehicles.

The New Delhi-based supplier of the vehicles has trained the fire service personnel for five days to operate and rescue people with the new machines. “They will be trained for another week, so that they can operate the machines efficiently,” said assistant fire officer (Bhubaneswar) Ramesh Majhi.

Subhakanta Swain, a structural engineer, said: “There is no problem with existing firefighting norms, but the city should be ready with adequate equipment, so that, when required, the services can be rendered effectively. As the new Bronto firefighters are fitted with rescue platforms, they can get people out of the danger zone in case of fire.”

Umesh Patnaik, president of the Association for Odisha Real-estate Developers (Aford), said: “The initiative taken by fire service department is a welcome step. As the trend of the new generation is changing, the preparedness to fight fire will definitely provide better safety backup to the people.”

He, however, urged the real-estate developers to adhere to firefighting rules while building high-rise structures.

Among the multi-storey buildings in the city, the state secretariat, Rajiv Bhavan, Natala building and the directorate of agriculture and production have experienced fire mishaps in the past four years.

High-rise structures are mushrooming in the city with more than 30 buildings having more than 10 storeys.

Fire prevention officer Manoranjan Bhol urged the real-estate developers to adhere strictly to norms to rule out fire accidents.