Fire breakouts have become a recurring phenomena in Perumbavoor. Four shops have caught fire sustaining huge losses in the last two years. With more plywood factories concentrated in the area and scant facilities in the fire and rescue department, the residents and shopkeepers live on tenterhooks.
A few days back, when a shop caught fire, though a fire fighting unit from the Perumbavoor fire and rescue station reached the spot, they could not control the fire as the water ran out in the tank. By the time, the fire officials filled their tank, the fire had spread. “There are about thousands of plywood factories in Perumbavoor which makes the area vulnerable to fire breakouts. The buildings are old and the electrification, weak. There are many closed shops too. The fire and rescue department at Perumbavoor does not have the required equipment to force open the closed shutters, if it catches fire,” said K M A Salam, chairman, Perumbavoor Municipality.
"In earlier times, two fire fighting units are sent to the site,” said sources. The authorities are decommissioning the vehicles but in the process they did not even raise a single finger to get the required vehicles and other basic facilities for the stations. “During the last government’s tenure, many fire stations were opened. But nothing more,” they pointed out. “In an area highly prone to accidents, we have only one fire fighting unit which could only carry 4000 litres of water,” said sources. They said that if this water is pumped with high pressure, it would only last only for about one and a half minute. “This will not help in case of a major fire breakout. This was exactly what happened when the fire broke out in a shop a few days back,” they said.
The situation also invited public wrath. But to hush up the controversy, the authorities gave a vehicle from the Gandhinagar Fire and Rescue station to the Perumbavoor Fire and Rescue station. “This would not help as they gave only vehicles and not any staff to operate it. Besides what would Gandhinagar fire station authorities do when a similar fire break out occurs in the area,” they asked. K M A Salim said that they have passed a resolution and submitted it to the Home Minister pointing out the need for two new fire fighting units in Perumbavoor. “ Hope it will be processed,” he said. When asked, Abdul Rasheed, Assistant District Officer, said that he is not aware of the situation as the he is on examination duty in Fire Force Academy, Thrissur.