F&ES Dept. Rebuffs Public Claims On Kohima Fire Incident
Monday, June 17, 2024

F&ES dept. rebuffs public claims on Kohima fire incident

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Feb 28, 2023 10:59 pm
FES dept. rebuffs public claims on Kohima fire incident Copy
Seen in the picture is a remnant aftermath of the fire incident near Mao Market in Kohima on Tuesday.

Even as accusing fingers were pointed at the Fire and Emergency Service department for alleged slow response pertaining to the devastating fire which broke out in Kohima on February 27 evening, the department clarified that there was no question of the station being understaffed, adding that fire tenders filled with water were readily available for any untoward incidents.

A high ranking official from the department apprised that despite some of its personnel being assigned on election duty, it still had enough staff to perform the required tasks, adding that there was no question of being understaffed. He added that even postal voting was arranged for them prior to the polling day. 

He went on to claim that they did not receive any phone call regarding the fire incident and that they were instead alerted about the same only through one of its drivers, following which they rushed to the spot located below their station to douse the fire.

It may be mentioned that a devastating fire broke out at Mao Market, which destroyed several houses and affected few building including Bethel Medical Centre on the night of February 27 in the state capital.

While interacting with Eastern Mirror aftermath the fire incident on Tuesday, some eye witnesses however opined that the fire, which occurred not far away from the South Fire Station, could have been prevented if firefighters responded quickly with modern equipment.

Residents nearby the affected area also complained that despite the fire spreading from the Mao Market, the fire personnel were not prompt in its response, wondering if the station was shortstaffed and had not kept equipment ready to fight any major fire incident.

“I am not blaming the firefighting personnel but the concerned authority should be blamed,” said a senior citizen, while another one claimed that the response from the Fire and Emergency Service was slow even after some youth were sent to alert the station.

“I was not able to save anything,” informed a resident whose house went up in the blaze.

It was informed that initially, they only saw smoke coming out from the lower floor of the market building from their station before finding out that the opposite side of the facility which actually caught fire was fast spreading.

“If the part of the building which faces us has caught fire, then it would be easily possible for us to notice it. But it originated from the opposite side so we were not able to see it,” he said, adding, “Even if there was fire incident occurring near our place, we may not know if we weren’t informed about it.”

It was learned that firefighters from Dimapur and Chümoukedima districts including Chiephobozou, Khuzama and Fire Station (North) in Kohima along with NSDM and Assam Rifles personnel as well as volunteers from the Red Cross and public joined in the fight to control the inferno.

Meanwhile, an official narrated the challenges they face while responding to emergency calls because of the narrow road, coupled with traffic jams in Kohima.

He explained that they had arranged a stationary fire truck to fight the fire while water was being continuously pumped into it from the BOC lake on Monday, while other vehicles were trying to douse the fire by filling water from different reservoir tanks in Kohima.

“There is no question of water scarcity; we always keep our vehicles ready on the roadside filled with water,” he said.

He added that the day being the polling day, Mao Market, like any business establishment, was closed. He narrated how they struggled to break the shutters which were locked.

“Whenever there is any fire incident, the public expect us to bring it under control immediately. However, we as human beings, sometimes fail to fight the fire. But, we always try our best to safe property and prevent fire from further spreading,” said the official.

It was informed that while they were trying to extinguish the fire with fire trucks, the fire already spread downward and gutted other houses.

The official informed that a wooden market building with tin sheet located adjacent to Mao Market caught fire, which eventually spread to residential houses and consumed many homes.

“Since the building was made out of wood and tin, it burned like a match stick,” he said.

On the question that some citizens had raised like the kind of equipment being used, the official apprised that they have adequate equipment to tackle fire even though they may not have apparatus imported from Western countries.

Meanwhile, he informed that investigation is on to find out the cause of fire and other details.

While firefighters, residents and volunteers were seen clearing the debris in the aftermath of the fire incident at the affected site on Tuesday, a shed made of tin sheet housing a herd of goats miraculously remained safe from the fire.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Feb 28, 2023 10:59:19 pm
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