Delayed response in fire control operation | F&E officials, locals join blame game in Gurez

Bandipora, Feb 14: The locals in Gurez Valley have accused Fire and Emergency officials of negligence for allowing a house to turn to ashes in broad daylight, a kilometer away from where they are stationed.

Locals said smoke and flames erupted from the house of Abdul Rasheed Akhoon, a government employee in Markoot village, just over a kilometer from Dawar market in Gurez at 10 in the morning.

Witnessing the fire getting out of control, the locals said they called the Fire and Emergency officials, but they couldn’t be reached for almost an hour. “Their phones were turned off and we couldn’t establish any contact,” locals said.

By the time they arrived, the locals and family members gathered to put off the flames but to no avail. “It was at 11:30  am that the fire tenders arrived to douse off the fire, till then it was too late,” Shabir Ahmad a local witness said.

“Every local official tried to reach them but they were caught napping,” Aijaz Ahmad said. He said after arriving over an hour late they faced the wreath of angry locals who broke the window panes of their vehicle.

The locals have called on the Fire and Emergency officials to remain active as in a similar incident a building was reduced to rubble in Dawar market this past summer. “At the time the fire tenders were not ready and had no water filled for the operation.”

Fire Service Control Room officials at District Headquarters Bandipora who received the call, refuted the allegations and said that they received a call from Dawar at 10:35 and after two minutes the fire tender was on its way and reached the spot at 10:45 am. Soon after reaching the spot, the officials at the control room said the “people there began assaulting our men which led to the disturbance and delay in operation for fifteen more minutes.”

The official told Greater Kashmir they had to call PCR and call the police for protection. “After police arrived and our men were rescued then only were we able to start the operation,” the official said, adding the delay led to more damage to the house.

The official at the control room said they received no other call from any person from Gurez and that they have all the records and proof available with them.


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