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Fire kiosks must for highrises

One such fire kiosk was unveiled on the ground floor of Acropolis Mall on Monday

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 17.02.20, 08:40 PM
The fire kiosk on the ground floor of Acropolis Mall after it was unveiled on Monday

The fire kiosk on the ground floor of Acropolis Mall after it was unveiled on Monday Telegraph picture

Residential buildings more than 45 metres high or complexes with a floor area of over two lakh square feet must have a kiosk equipped to fight fires or other disasters, the fire services department has said.

The department has started sending letters to owners or associations of such buildings, laying out the guidelines.


Each kiosk should measure between 100 and 125 square feet and should have several fire-fighting equipment, including four fire extinguishers, a lock cutter, a crowbar, a 14-pound hammer, a smoke-hood, torchlights and fire buckets.

One such fire kiosk was unveiled on the ground floor of Acropolis Mall on Monday.

The 42, the 64-storey ( more than 200m high) building on Chowringhee, is the tallest residential tower coming up in Calcutta.

Some of the other buildings in the city that are more than 45m tall are South City, Urbana, Trump Tower, Atmosphere, Avidipta II and Siddha Sky. Several more highrises are on the anvil.

“Such kiosks would have to be in place where high footfall is likely — hospitals, malls and educational institutions,” said Jag Mohan, director general of fire services. “Without the kiosk, the fire services department will not issue the mandatory clearance.”

The directive will also apply to all future educational institutions with provisions for basement parking, air conditioning and an auditorium with a seating capacity of over 500.

The directive to set up fire kiosks in highrises comes nearly 10 years after a fire at Stephen Court on Park Street killed 43 people. Several of the items that have been made mandatory for fire kiosks would have been of great help at Stephen Court.

The primary focus of the directive is on buildings across Calcutta with high-risk occupancies, where fire-fighting arrangements are often given little importance compared to other facilities such as gymnasium, pool, and landscaped gardens, sources in the fire services department said.

The letter states that the fire kiosk should be preferably located on the ground floor with clear and easy access.

The fire kiosk would be in addition to the in-built fire detection and suppression system such as smoke detectors, fire alarms, overhead water sprinklers and fire hydrants specified in the West Bengal Fire Services Act 1950.

“Firefighting in highrises can be challenging owing to wind velocity. We want to ensure that in case of an emergency, certain basic items are kept ready to battle fire right at its onset. A fire kiosk would be of great help in such circumstances,” said a senior officer of the fire services department.

The fire kiosk at Acropolis — the first in a city mall — is equipped with smoke hoods, an insulated axe, four fire extinguishers and two stretchers.

“In case of an emergency in and around the mall, we would be happy to allow residents of the area to fall back on the gadgets kept in this kiosk,” said Sushil Mohta, the chairman of Merlin Group that built the Kasba mall in a private-public partnership with the urban development department of the state.

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