Low quality cable causes major accident

Use of low quality electric cables is the main reason behind the recent surge in fire disasters across the country, said a survey report. The report produced recently by the Fire Service and Civil Defence said that most of the fire incidents originate from electric short circuit triggered by low quality cables used in commercial and residential buildings.

The report detected 20 particular reasons behind fire disasters in the country. According to the report, low quality gas cylinders and stoves; people’s tendency to leave the remaining part of burning cigarettes here and there; kerosene lamps; burning ashes and careless handling of inflammable substances, among other reasons, are also responsible for fire incidents.

Although, the fake and low quality of electric cables have been flooded the market and being sold randomly, no initiative to stop its production and sale is noticed. Fire experts said there is no one, who will monitor the standard of electric cables during the construction of buildings. Consequently, country’s people face frequent fire accidents mostly originate from the short circuit, even circuit breaker.

According to the fire service sources, valuable goods worth at around Tk 385.78 crore was damaged and many lives were claimed due to 19,642 fire incidents in the country last year. Among the incidents, 7,825 originated from short circuits which are around 39 percent of the total. On the other hand, over 2,000 fire incidents occurred in the country in first four months of the current year. Of the total, short circuit was detected as source of origin in 1,400 cases, around 70 percent.

Out of 19,642, in 3,449 cases fire erupted from stoves, in 3,108 cases from remaining part of burning cigarettes while 625 fire incidents originated from lamps, 667 from burning ashes and fuel and 411 from unknown sources. Major Shakil Newaz, Director of Fire Service and Civil Defense (Operation and Maintenance) said, “Around 70 percent fire disasters occur from electric short circuits due to use of low quality wires. These low quality cables are available in the markets in plenty while quality cables are rare. Moreover, price of quality cables is out of range.”

“Building owners should follow building code along with proper design. The risk of fire can be greatly reduced if only owner of a building engage qualified electric engineer, instead of a civil or diploma engineer, to make the electric design. Those who construct buildings violating the building code should be brought to book,” he added.

Dr Satya Prasad Majumder, Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department in BUET, also echoed the findings of the Fires Service report. He said, “Fire risk increases across the country due to use of low quality electric cables. Low quality circuit breakers are also responsible. People should be alert right now in this regard to avert deadly disaster.”

Recently, in a short span of time, one after another deadly fire disasters including Old Dhaka’s Churihatta, Suhrawardy Hospital, Banani FR Tower, Gulshan DNCC Market and Khilgaon kitchen market shook the country’s people to the core. Chawkbazar’s Churihatta fire originated from preserved chemicals and claimed at least 68 lives.

The reason behind the fires at Kamarpatti below the Khilgaon flyover, Gulshan DNCC Market and Banani’s FR Tower was similar. At least 26 persons were roasted alive and 73 others were critically burnt in the FR Tower fire mishap.