Bengaluru: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Sunday, visited the site of the fire incident at Aero India at Yelahanka Air Force Base. Officials from the Indian Air Force, state fire services and state police were present at the spot.
Ms Sitharaman was briefed on the incident by the officials and she enquired about the steps being taken to facilitate the insurance claims made by owners of the vehicles. The minister is said to have directed the officials to ensure that the RTO helpdesk should have representatives from insurance companies to facilitate the insurance claims by those who had lost their cars. According to the Ministry of Defence Ms Sitharaman is scheduled to have a meeting with the CM along with AOC in C, Commissioner of Police, DG Fire Services and other senior officials.
The officials briefed her about the quick action taken by the Operational Control Centre (OCC) of Aero India in controlling the rapid spread of the fire at P4 parking area. The spread of the fire was aided by strong winds reaching in excess of 30 Kmph and the fact that many vehicles were parked in the direction of the wind. The OCC along with the state fire department put into action more than thirteen fire tenders, seven water bowsers and 33 Agni Varuna vehicles to douse the fire.
An additional six crash Fire Tenders (CFT) of IAF, which are used in case of an aircraft crash, were used to control the rapid spread of the fire and the entire fire was doused within 45 minutes with more than 3000 litres of foam used.The officials maintain that timely actions ensured that the damage was limited to a small area and larger damage was avoided. The IAF also launched one helicopter immediately for aerial assessment which aided in giving effective directions to fight the fire.
At the time of the incident more than 3000 vehicles were parked in the parking area. Vehicles in the line of fire were removed from the area by breaking the glass windows and releasing the parking brakes as drivers were not present and these cars were pushed to safety. This action also created a gap between the parked vehicles and stopped further spread of the fire.
In total 278 cars were fully damaged, 73 cars partially damaged (16 due to fire and 57 due to breaking of glass). The OCC effectively coordinated for Quick replenishment of the fire tenders by regulating traffic on NH7 with the help of the traffic police. This ensured unhindered access of these fire tenders to Static Water Tanks for replenishing tenders.
An alternate parking area was identified immediately for the people who were visiting Aero India. Due to the swift action and smooth coordination among various agencies involved, the afternoon show was conducted as per schedule without any hindrance. The incident resulted in no loss of life or injuries to anyone. Food and water was arranged by the IAF for people at the site of the incident. Later in the day, authorities facilitated their movement back to their homes by arranging transportation.