CHENNAI: All mandatory safety norms were thrown to the wind at the Misri complex in Sowcarpet, destroyed by a major fire, officials assessing the damage said on Tuesday.
“The building lacked fire alarms, smoke detectors and automatic sprinklers or fire hoses,” said an official of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Service (TNFRS).
It is mandatory for all buildings above 15 mt to have sprinkler system, besides fire extinguishers on each floor. But, the Misri complex did not have any of them.
Most buildings in old Chennai, including Sowcarpet, function as commercial complexes while being registered as residential buildings. “A building, higher than 15 mt should have an area of seven metres around it for free movement of vehicles in case of emergency, which is not the case here” the official said.
Worse, traders and establishments in the narrow streets rarely cooperate with widening or regularisation drives, another official rued.