Fire Safety be Damned. We are the Olympians of Stupidity


Fire Safety be Damned. We are the Olympians of Stupidity

Illustration: Akshita Monga/ Arré


must have been in the third standard when I first heard the term “playing with fire.” I was watching a movie where a nun believes in a miracle and the priest warns her using those words. I remember pestering my cousins — all much elder — about how someone can play with fire. One of them was decent enough to reply, “Come Diwali, I will show you.”  And he showed me alright. By dropping a fire cracker on my toe.

There’s something up with us and fire. Fire accidents keep happening around us at an alarming pace. A Level-2 fire at Crystal Tower in the Parel area of Mumbai has already claimed the lives of four people with ten others injured. This comes on the heels of the fire in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills area, which killed several people.  The fire accident at a plastic factory in Ludhiana last November claimed the lives of thirteen people, including three firemen. In 2016, a fire in Odisha’s SUM hospital killed 24 people. Apparently the hospital had “overlooked a 2013 advisory of the state government to improve its firefighting mechanism” and did not even have a fire safety certificate. Well done, folks – this is what they mean when they say that the smell of death looms large in hospitals. Even our temples are a good place to go out. In April 2016, organisers of an annual pyrotechnic show in Kerala flouted safety warnings of the district administration and went ahead to stage a forgettable fire tragedy in India that left over a hundred people dead.