Firefighters at the Bicholim fire station saved 11 persons and 47 animals in different accidents other than fire accidents, during the last 14-month period stretching from January 2012 to February 2013.
The property saved due to fire and other accidents during this period was worth around ` 3.44 crore, however, the property gutted in fire and destroyed in other types of accidents was worth around ` 1 crore.
Firemen during this period attended 331 fire and 207 other calls. The number of lives lost in different accidents was 16, and that of animals was 12.
Surprisingly not a single property that was gutted in fire and destroyed in other accidents was found to be insured due to which the owners could not get the benefit of compensation.
The total fire prevention inspections conducted during this period were 238 in numbers.
Presently, the firemen at the Bicholim fire station are facing problems due to the unavailability of good network of hydrants while due to low water pressure at some hydrants, the fire tenders from Bicholim have to be taken to Sanquelim for refilling purpose, due to which the situation during the emergencies remain very uncertain.
If a fire breaks out in Bicholim, then by the time the fire tender goes to Sanquelim for refilling and returns, almost major portion of the affected area is engulfed in flames resulting in bigger losses, and as such, there is acute need of hydrants with high water pressure in the Bicholim area.
One of the hydrants located near the fire station has very low pressure while the one situated near the ITI Bicholim is damaged and needs urgent repairs.
There is not a single hydrant situated in the market area and if a major fire breaks out there it will be very difficult to control the same.
Similarly, the hydrants situated in the industrial estate also have very low pressure and so the situation could be very testing.
Most of the fire stations in Goa do not have chemical foam type fire extinguishers and the Bicholim fire station too lacks these types of extinguishers as a result fires occurring from petrol or diesel could become difficult to control.
Another factor that affects the fire extinguishing efficiency at Bicholim is the haphazard parking of two and four wheelers in front of the fire station gate, which prohibits the movement of fire tenders during emergencies and major time of the firemen is wasted in clearing the road of the vehicles parked.
It is pertinent to note that the fire stations in the state do not have hose pipes which are required to extinguish fire and as a result, it becomes difficult to extinguish fire which breaks out in the interior places like plantations, as fire tenders cannot be taken to such places.
Meanwhile, the fire station building in Bicholim also needs urgent attention – it is in a dilapidated state. There is also a need to carry out electrical wiring and other repairs in order to maintain the building. [NT]