On Sunday of 25th of March, the tragedy has occurred in a Russian city Kemerovo. Almost 70 people could not escape from the mall and died from the fire and suffocating smoke. Most of the victims were children.
The cause of fire is still unknown, it may be either the defect of electric wiring or an arson.
The real reasons and causes that led to the fire will be investigated soon. However, the most terrifying fact is the negligence on basics of fire safety regulations of the mall.
- The person responsible for the fire safety was a cook.
- The building passed all inspections and was allowed into operation.
- The last inspection was in June 2016 and took 20 minutes instead of prescribed 2 hours.
- No sprinklers, no heat & smoke vent systems were implemented.
- Emergency exits were blocked.
- No alarm or notification about fire was made. On one account the guards turned it off to prevent panic, on another one – the alarm system was broken or absent at all.
- Many people tried to escape jumping out of windows and breaking doors in attempt to escape from the rapidly spreading fire and smoke.
- Some people were trapped on the roof, waiting for the arrival of rescuers for 40 minutes.
- Group of children accompanied by a teacher came to the mall for the premiere of the cartoon. The teacher left pupils during the movie alone in the cinema hall to do shopping. She asked cinema employees to close the doors not to let children to go out. During the fire, all cinema staff escaped left children in the blocked room. They all died unable to get out. Some children were able to call their parents and say that they cannot breathe and they cannot leave the hall. The teacher was able to escape.
No words to express bitterness and sorrow. But this tragedy learned me something and reminded me of what we are doing here, why we are studying and what role fire safety engineer decisions plays on human lives.
I would like to finish this text by Mónica’s quote:
Let’s not forget as fire safety engineers that best practice guidelines are required for a reason, we should carefully analyze the assumptions and the design characteristics with a clear goal, life safety of innocent lives. Let’s not forget our role in the whole process, not only on the initial design but also the reliability that our fire safety solution can have in real life.