87 killed, 342 hurt in 2,478 incidents of fire last year

Kathmandu, January 5

Property worth around Rs 50 million was gutted when a fire broke out in a cotton factory run by Raj Jaiswal in Satungal, Chandragiri Municipality-11, yesterday police said.

Eight fire engines, 30 water trucks and nearly 350 security personnel were deployed to fight the blaze, which started at around 7:00 pm yesterday. Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati, Spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, said it took nearly eight hours to contain the fire.

“We had a very tough time fighting the fire with water as it had spread to nearby aluminium godown as we lacked fire engine fitted with foam system. Foam pumpers are needed to douse such fires,” he informed, adding that the estimated damage was worth around Rs 50 million. However, no one was hurt in the fire. Police said they were investigating the case of the fire.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said there was always an increased risk of fire outbreaks during the dry season and urged people to be more careful to prevent such incidents.

In yet another incident, property worth around Rs 100,000 was destroyed after a fire engulfed a pottery of Dinesh Prajapati in Suryabinayak of Bhaktapur yesterday.

According to statistics released by National Emergency Operation Centre of the MoHA, 87 persons were killed and 342 injured in 2,478 incidents of fire across the country in 2018. Similarly, the fires destroyed and damaged 1,857 and 291 houses respectively. The financial loss or damage caused by the fires stood around 3.96 billion. The MoHA recorded a total of 92 incidents of fire, mostly in the valley, over a period of one week.

Short-circuit, overheating of electronic equipment, fluctuating voltage and electric spark, poor handling of burning lamps and cooking gas leakage are the prime causes of fire outbreaks. On an average, Metropolitan Police Office or Juddha Barun Yantra gets two calls a day to respond to fire incidents in valley districts. Many more cases go unreported as people themselves extinguish small fires before they spread. Data from 1971 to 2012 released by MoHA last year show that fire is the fourth largest fatal disaster in the country after epidemic, landslide and flood.