Short-circuit biggest cause of fire in Valley

Kathmandu, August 12

Majority of fire incidents is caused by short-circuits in Kathmandu Valley, according to Metropolitan Police Office.

According to annual statistics of the fiscal 2016-17, over 40 per cent of fire accidents in the Valley occurred due to short-circuits. As many as 113 out of 268 incidents of fire recorded in the Valley were triggered by short-circuits. Fire starting from kitchen (77), poor handling of matches and lighter (29), electrical short in vehicles (26), unknown (17) and poor handling of oil-fed lamp in prayer room were other causes of fire incidents.

The incidents of fire were reported to Police Control Room (100) for necessary action, said the MPO. In one of the deadliest fires, at least 45 cows died and 70 others sustained burn injuries at Om Agricultural Farm in Gokarneshwar Municipality-1 in June.

Short-circuit, overheating of electronic equipment, fluctuating voltage and electric spark after a sudden resumption of power supply following load-shedding, poor handling of burning lamps and cooking gas leakage are the prime reasons for fire outbreak. On an average, MPO or Juddha Barun Yantra receives one call a day to respond to fire incidents.

Police and JBY officials suggested that it was wise to unplug cables of electronic goods and keep the power switch off during power cuts. JBY has a strength of 38 firefighters and four fire engines. It is also assisted by the Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force.  It is harder for the authorities to put out a fire in the dry season as many sources of water dry up during the period (April-May).

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, fire hazards are responsible for property loss worth 350 million rupees and the deaths of 43 people in Nepal annually.

The data from 1971 to 2012 released by MoHA show that fire is the fourth largest fatal disaster in the country after epidemic, landslide and flood.