Lately, Kazakhstani headline news are full of fire cases. According to the Emergency Situations Department’s statistics for the past 9 month, 458 fires occurred in Almaty, and 5 large fires broke out last month. One took place in regional orphanage and resulted in injuries of 4 children and 1 adult; the other completely destroyed a night club, and one more occurred at the flea market. It should be noted that flea market fires resulting from arson and violation of fire safety regulations have become a common phenomenon in Almaty. However, the most tragic fire broke out on November 6 at the construction site of trampoline center on the roof of 5-storey building next to Almaty Towers business center. Unfortunately, 6 people died in this fire, and 5 of them were local university students, just in their 20s, working part-time only for 1 pound per hour. Two people who survived by jumping from windows revealed that fire was caused by welding works, and victims could not escape since doors were locked. Thus, severe violation of fire safety regulations contributed to this tragic event that has shocked the whole Kazakhstan.
Figure 1. Fire next to Almaty Towers business center (www.inform.kz)
This event has reminded me of another large fire which broke out in this summer in printing warehouse in Moscow, Russia, causing death of 17 migrant young women from Kyrgyzstan. Short circuit has been considered as the main reason for fire, and due to abundance of paper and cardboard in warehouse, fire developed very rapidly and traveled from ground floor to upper floors through ventilation duct. The building was not equipped either with detection or with suppression systems.
As I was writing this blog, I came across the shocking news about the Oakland warehouse fire which broke out earlier this month and killed 36 people. It appears to be one of the deadliest fires in the US history. The investigators have not made the conclusion about the possible reasons for the fire yet, but it is known that there were no any fire detection and suppression systems in the warehouse.
This chain of tragic news shows that fire safety regulations are still violated all over the world, and appropriate measures should be taken to prevent such tragedies from happening.