Bengaluru: Goods worth several lakhs of rupees were gutted when a fire broke out at Gopalan Arcade Mall in Raja Rajeshwarinagar on Monday morning. The incident raised questions on fire safety at malls in the city as it is alleged that majority of fire extinguishers at the mall were not in working condition.
The fire broke out in the kitchen of a McDonald’s outlet located on the ground floor of the mall around 10.30 am. Though it’s suspected that an electric short-circuit caused the fire, it is still being analysed. The fire spread to the entire outlet and Pai International electronic goods showroom on the first floor and Brand Factory outlet on the second floor. More than 100 employees working at the mall rushed out, while more than 200 visitors were brought out safely.
Some of the employees tried to douse the fire with fire extinguishers, but that did not help. They immediately called the fire department control room and within half-an-hour, four fire tenders were rushed to the spot. After nearly one-and-a-half-hours, the fire was contained.
“Furniture and other goods at the McDonald’s outlet were completely gutted, while some electronic goods in Pai International and clothes at Brand Factory were damaged. Two other shops are partially damaged in the incident. We are yet to ascertain the reason for the fire and the loss is still being estimated,” a fire department official said.
Suresh, who works at a shop, said that an employee with Pai International sustained minor injuries while breaking open a glass pane. “After the fire broke out everyone started running out. When one of the employees tried to kick a glass to break it open, he sustained injuries and was shifted to hospital immediately.”
The fire personnel used a 40-foot ladder to reach to the window of the first floor. They broke open the window and pumped in the water to douse the fire.
Fire dept to crack down on malls
On January 5, the Fire and Emergency Services Department had issued notices to 13 malls across the city, directing the managements to adhere to fire safety norms and clear encroachment on driveways within 15 days. The deadline was extended for another 15 days.
“The extended deadline will lapse in a week. Gopalan Arcade Mall was also issued the notice. If any mall fails to follow the instructions, we will initiate action. We will write to Bescom asking them to disconnect power to such malls,” said Mr M.N. Reddi, Director-General, Fire and Emergency Services.
Movie screening stopped
Gopalan Cinemas, located on the second floor, had already started screening three movies. Immediately after the fire broke out, the screening was stopped and the audiences were requested to rush to a safe zone.