The Haldiram outlet in Ballygunge where a fire broke out on Saturday evening had some safety measures in place but stored too many LPG cylinders, a preliminary probe by the police and the fire department has revealed.
At least 50 cylinders were in the four-storeyed Haldiram building when the fire broke out, disrupting a wedding. The burnt food court and banquet hall, on the fourth floor, can reopen after a nod from the fire department. All the floors in the building house Haldiram facilities.
“The fire department has to be informed if a large number of cylinders are stored at a place. We were in the dark that as many as 50 cylinders had been stored in the Ballygunge building,” a fire department officer said.
“How many cylinders can be stored depends on how open the area is, the fire safety measures and other factors. Considering all the factors, not more than 10 cylinders should have been stored in the building.”
The probe revealed that the outlet had a water reservoir and sprinklers to fight a blaze. It, however, lacked trained staff to evacuate people and fight a blaze till the arrival of fire engines, said an officer.
“They have a reservoir from where water was sourced to douse the flames. The water sprinklers on all floors were found to be operational. We find violation of the basic norms in many establishments,” said D.P. Tarenia, the director-general of the West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services.
The management of the Haldiram outlet said they were “fully equipped” to fight the fire. “There were more than 600 people inside the building but there was no casualty,” said the manager of the outlet.
The fire department has lodged a complaint against the owners of the outlet with Karaya police station.
A team of forensic experts visited the fire-ravaged floor and collected samples to determine the cause of the fire.