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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fire in EA mall again ..... no just a mock exercise

Do you judge the intensity of the incident by looking at the crowds and their reaction ?

Express Avenue Mall is quite famous one in Chennai city.  The mall is built on a 10 acre site – has 4 floors of retail space, some eateries, cinema theatres, Big Bazaar and host of garment and footwear shops.  The mail has entries in Woods Road, Whites road and Patullos road and has 3 level basement parking. Inaugurated in May 2010, this mall has become quite popular drawing huge crowds on holidays.  One can see people waiting outside in the morning even before the mall opens....

As I passed by this morning,  I noticed fire tenders seriously directing their jets towards the top of the floors, water was pouring out at the building; there was an ambulance stationed – suddenly a person was carried towards the ambulance…

All this happening this morning around 0930 am of today [29th Jan 2013] – someone quipping that  23rd Nov 2012 is getting repeated.  On that day there  was a fire in the  Chennai City’s famous mall – Express Avenue [popularly EA], situate near the old landmark – Royapettah Watch tower. That day, the fire was noticed in the noon - thick smoke was  seen billowing out of the mall – even as cars were being evacuated.  The fire reportedly affected a footwear showroom on the first floor. The cause of fire and how much it has spread were not known

Today, the traffic was free flowing – not even the regular traffic snarls – those inside were not serious – some joking and laughing… it was clear by their reaction that it was a mock exercise and nothing more.

Last time, when there was actual fire there was felling that  people / authorities were not exhibiting that seriousness that ought to be exhibited.  When there is fire, before investigating into its intensity, people should be evacuated, outsiders should not be allowed entry – all gates should be kept open allowing free passage of vehicles and persons inside to get out and go farther.

Sometimes, mock drills become more of a mockery with people becoming too casual and the intention ‘that of checking whether the contingency plan is appropriately in place is lost’.

The group of curious onlookers, most of them workers in various establishments inside the mall……. Were too casual and perhaps the exercise was not being carried with the rigour that it deserves.  This is no cynical comment but… one has to be serious in whatever one does…..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Jan 2013. 


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