141 people killed in fire incidents, cylinder blasts
KABUL (PAN): One hundred and forty-one people lost their lives to fire incidents and gas cylinder blasts which caused financial losses amounting to more than $16.6 million in the country during the outgoing solar year, an official said on Wednesday.
Maj. Gen. Abdul Fatah Frogh, the fire brigade department head, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview there has been a 20 percent surge in casualties and damages caused by fire incidents and cylinder blasts this solar year, when 1273 fire incidents and explosions took place.
He said 128 people were killed in gas cylinder blasts and another 13 people, including women and children, died in fire incidents during the year, which ends March 21.
Most of the incidents occurred in Kabul, Herat and Nangarhar provinces, where property and goods worth more than $16.6 million were torched, said Frogh, who acknowledged his department’s inability to douse fire in-time due to lack of modern equipment.
However, he said the fire brigade had been able to prevent further losses in most of fire incidents with the available resources, claiming $72,644.25 had been saved from burning due to timely action by the fire brigade department.
He added the department had only 176 various fire extinguishing equipment, which he said were not enough to deal with such incidents throughout the capital. He said at least there should be one fire fighting vehicle for each police district.
Frogh said currently they had fire departments in 11 provinces and construction work on buildings for the facility was underway in another 13 provinces. He hoped the construction process would be complete by next year.
Currently, fire departments are active in provincial capitals only, he said, adding they planned to extend the service to districts until 2017. The interior ministry had pledged $14,528,850 to improve activities of fire departments, the official said, adding donor countries had also promised providing 29 modern fire-extinguishing tools to Afghanistan. The equipment included ambulances, healthcare centres, water sprinkler cars and mobile healthcare units.
Frogh said the fire brigade in Kabul was capable to extinguish fire up to a three-storey building only, saying the equipment promised by donor countries would help improve their capability up to the 10th floor of a building.
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