A massive fire broke out at the family plastic production unit in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday evening. Visuals from the spot showed thick smoke billowing out. Two multi-story buildings of a plastic factory at Manvila Industrial Estate, Sreekaryam have been engulfed in the fire for at least 5 hours.
Workers who were in the production unit managed to rush out as soon as the fire broke out, some of them said. No casualties have been reported so far.
Authorities have ordered an evacuation in a one-kilometer radius of the warehouse. There have been massive toxic fumes due to the plastic burning and people have been asked to stay one km away.
At least 30 fire engines have been trying to contain the blaze, that started around 7 pm. Around 40 firefighters from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Kanyakumari have been fighting the fire.
Fire engines from the city airport have also been asked to join the fire control operations.
Fire force sources say that even after the fire is doused, they would still be on high alert since the substances are highly combustible. And since the building has been on fire for more than four hours, the building or parts of it can even collapse.
There was minor fire reported from the same factory three days back, which was contained immediately by the factory workers with the in-house extinguishers, even before the firefighters reached the spot.
120 staffs escaped from the massive fire.
After a big blast, they realized it fire breaks in the factory, most of them are just stuck and don’t know what to do at the spot. Economy production area had dark smoke and the plastic burning smell started to spared other areas too. Workers and staffs started to escape through all possible exits immediately. 120 staffs are in at the time of fire breaks out and all are saved their life without any casualties.
It was a huge fire break out; I was nearby the first fire blast area, never thought that I can come out from the factory; I don’t know how I just escaped from it. Suresh, factory worker told the CBC News. Some staff tried to enter in the first fire blast room to do firefighting but the heavy smoke prevents them to do so.
How to prevent the spread of fire.
After the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, fire safety is an issue on everyone’s minds. Questions are being asked about inadequate safety measures causing a fire to spread rapidly through buildings with large numbers of occupants.
The Grenfell Tower investigation is ongoing, but clearly, fire protection measures either failed or were not there in the first place. It is important to address how disasters like this can be avoided in the future.
Keeping fire contained
To prevent a fire from spreading, different sections of a building must be built as fire-resistant compartments. This means they will resist the passage of fire for a specified period of time. If a fire is contained in a compartment, it won’t spread to other parts of the building. People can evacuate safely and firefighters can extinguish the fire.
In a tower block, for instance, each flat should be a separate, fire resistant compartment. This would ensure that if one resident started a fire, it would not spread to other flats for a specified amount of time (usually 30 minutes).
Day-to-day, the most important way for a building’s occupants to keep a building safe is through keeping fire doors closed. Fire doors are specially made to resist fire for a certain amount of time and keep the fire contained within that compartment. If the door is open, the fire will spread rapidly. This is why wedging open fire doors is so dangerous.
Photo credit : www.fireco.uk