The Telangana Disaster Response and Fire Services Department has decided to take up a comprehensive audit of all the hotels in the twin cities to check for fire safety compliance and required permissions like licenses in coordination with the Tourism and related departments.
The decision was taken when its department personnel were shocked to notice that Hotel Katriya on the busy Raj Bhavan road was not only ill equipped to tackle any fire mishap, but also lacked proper No Objection Certificate (NOC). Occupancy Certificate (OC) too was missing.
Earlier in the day, fire personnel rushed to the hotel on receipt of information about a fire breaking out at about 8 a.m. Three fire trucks and one skylift was deployed to put out the fire by 9 a.m. Electricity short circuit was said to be the cause of the fire and it had ignited mattresses and fabric stored in the shaft around the lift. There was extensive damage of the fourth and fifth floors
Although there were no casualties, it was realised that the hotel lacked an ‘NOC’ from the fire department and had also ignored an advisory issued few years ago on measures to be taken for fire safety following a fire mishap. “The fire fighting equipment did not function as they were kept switched off,” disclosed senior officials, not willing to be identified.
On checking the fire department records, senior officials have stumbled upon information that the hotel management had taken a provisional ‘NOC’ for four floors but later it went on to add more floors but did not file any fresh ‘NOC’ or was permission sought for renewing the same from the department.
Senior officials contrast the scenario with the weekend fire at Kukatpally Mall where thanks to fire fighting systems, a fire was contained much before the fire trucks arrived. “We are going to prosecute the hotel owner under the Fire Act. We are also going to recommend to the licensing authority to close the building as it is unsafe and a fire hazard,” said Director General Rajiv Ratan, when contacted. Twenty-four fire mishaps were reported in TS last year from hotels alone.