Hyderabad: Two fire tenders stationed at the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel as part of a VIP bandobast did not respond when a fire broke out about half a kilometre away on Wednesday.
The fire tenders were stationed as part of the bandobast for Prince Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims.
A fire broke out in the first floor of Pioneer Chambers, opposite Apollo Hospital in Hyderguda. It quickly gained momentum and thick smoke could be seen billowing from the site. Several people called the police to inform them of the incident. The Falaknuma police rushed to the spot and launched a fire-fighting operation.
The police also alerted the fire control room and the Moghalpura fire station. However, they were informed that the staff of the Moghalpura fire station were on standby at the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel for the VIP’s visit.
As the fire grew, the police had to seek help from locals to bring it under control. It took them nearly half-an-hour to put out the fire. A fire tender from Chandulal Baradari fire station arrived at the spot later and poured some water.
The police said that decoration material stored in an open compound had caught fire when some children were playing with matchsticks.
The fire department had stationed four more fire tenders at the Nizam College grounds as part of the arrangements for the VIP. When the fire broke out, only one fire tender was asked to move from the Nizam College grounds to the site of the fire. Three other vehicles were deployed from other fire stations as part of the fire-fighting and rescue operation. M. Jayanna, a local, said, “There are only a handful of fire tenders in the city. Instead of drafting them for VIP arrangements, a separate fleet should be kept for that purpose,” he said.
District fire officer (South) Srinivas Reddy said that the fire control room was responsible for taking a call regarding the fire tenders. “If there is an emergency, we divert VIP bandobast vehicles to the spot. It could have been a coincidence that they were not deployed,” he said....