Truly yours The season (or culture) of fire!
Mohammad A Sattar
This year started with a bang. There has been a devastating fire at DCC market in Gulshan 1. The fire incident has same after effects, it has been the same reaction from the victims whose business reduced to ashes, and same briefing from the fire fighters, the age old complaints that the market did not have enough and functioning fire fighting equipments, and there have been the same faces showing up to give briefing to the media, word by word from the past, capping it up with the news of formation of inquiry committee.
The damage has been devastating. Now we wait to get the inquiry committee report. Whatever may be the report the fact remains that the market was diminished by fire and there has been considerable loss to business and property. Thanks God that none died in the ravaging fire.
A few days later there was fire in Motijheel in a bank. The floors experienced substantial damage. We all watched with awe the thick smoke billowing out of the windows and other open outlets. Fire fighters worked hard to douse the fire before it got worse.
And only a couple of days later there was a fire at Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) at Shahbagh. Fire service said that it started from a vacuum-cleaner kept at the basement of hospital’s cabin block around 11:15am.Four fire-fighting units rushed to spot and put out the flames by 11:30am.Before they arrived local Ansars jumped into action and did a great job by saving the situation from getting worse.
And there will be more such stories from all corners of the country. The slums will go up in flames and there will be more losses and damages. Death tolls will rise.
Fire incidents happen accidentally or due to gross negligence of an individual or family. There has been scores of instance that these fatal incidents occurred due to sheer carelessness and ignorance. Here also we need to address the issue keeping in sight the practical aspect of it. We, as a nation, are not organized in our personal life, we are bit of lazy and arrogant.
Seldom have we seen to be alert before any incident. We pull up our socks only after a fatal blow has been caused. However fire incidents are not new and it takes place all over the world for ages now.
Fire statistics will give you mind boggling data about fire incidents across the world even before the Christ was born. While studying those I lost track and thought of serious review of it. This subject is the most neglected and there has been only a few who take interest in this. Just imagine the damage fire causes to property and lives. It pulls back the development programs of a society and state. Fire is not a friendly thing.
There is always the ‘conspiracy’ or ‘sabotage’ theory intertwined with fire incidents. Many such incidents took place that was really an act of sabotage. But there are accidents as well, as mentioned earlier. Due to sheer negligence we invite the disaster.
Solution is not hard to find, foremost is awareness program across the country. And of course our valiant fire service brigades are good at these. They are doing their bit with limited resources. We should all have community fire fighters to fight the fires and also to monitor safety measures. We cannot afford to become the bearer of fire culture.
The writer is a columnist, development consultant and biographer. Email: [email protected]