Build­ing su­per­vi­sors re­spon­si­ble for most fires

Six fire­fight­ers in­jured, 2,500 square me­ters dam­aged

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Hanan-Al-Saadoun and KUNA Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Khaled Al-Mekrad, KFSD Di­rec­tor Gen­eral

Iron cuts sparked fires in Sabah Al-Salem Univer­sity City, Kuwait Credit Bank and Sharq tower. Elec­tri­cal short cir­cuit caused garage fire in Sharq In­dus­trial area. In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that 409 ar­sons were com­mit­ted in 2016. Some 655 out of 13,991 fa­cil­i­ties in­spected were re­ferred to pros­e­cu­tion due to se­vere vi­o­la­tions.

KUWAIT: His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad- Al-Sabah lauded the In­te­rior and Health Min­istries, in ad­di­tion to the Kuwait Fire Ser­vice Direc­torate (KFSD) for their ef­forts that con­trib­uted in ex­tin­guish­ing a fire that erupted in a pa­per fac­tory in Ah­mad in­dus­trial area and let six fire­men in­jured on Fri­day. In s cable sent yes­ter­day , His High­ness the Amir voiced ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the hon­est pa­tri­otic spirit that pre­vailed dur­ing the in­ci­dent, wish­ing for a speedy re­cov­ery to those in­jured.

His High­ness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ah­mad AlJaber Al-Sabah and His High­ness the Pre­mier Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah sent sim­i­lar ca­bles to the con­cerned bod­ies and of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Deputy Pre­mier and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sheikh Khaled Al-Jar­rah Al-Sabah, Min­is­ter of State for Cabi­net Af­fairs and Act­ing Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Al-Ab­dul­lah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and Health Min­is­ter Ja­mal Al-Harbi.

Fire­fight­ers in­jured

Fire­fight­ers from five fire ser­vice sta­tions have man­aged to ex­tin­guish the mas­sive blaze which hit a pa­per fac­tory and ware­house in Al-Ah­madi be­fore spread­ing to nearby build­ings, KFSD an­nounced. It added that six fire­fight­ers were wounded while fight­ing the fire and a probe was launched to un­veil the causes of the blaze. Ear­lier, KFSD's Act­ing Deputy-Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Bri­gadier Mo­ham­mad Al-Mah­meed said that the fire has dam­aged 2,500 square me­ters of the 4,000 square me­ter­build­ing. In a sep­a­rate case, fire­men also tack­led a blaze which burned a chalet in Nuwaseeb Fri­day af­ter­noon. No in­juries were re­ported in the in­ci­dent.

Su­per­vi­sors re­spon­si­ble

Mean­while, Kuwait's top fire­man said that su­per­vi­sors of sites un­der con­struc­tions are re­spon­si­ble for most of fire in­ci­dents erupted in those sites in Kuwait. But KFSD "does not cover on ar­son and is ready to take nec­es­sary mea­sures against any­one try­ing to mess with se­cu­rity of the coun­try, safety of peo­ple and prop­er­ties," Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Khaled Al-Mekrad, KFSD Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, said. He un­der­lined that KFSD "is act­ing in a trans­par­ent man­ner ... and is not ready to cover on any per­son."

Mekrad said in an in­ter­view that KFSD was tak­ing "nec­es­sary mea­sures" against any­one caus­ing the fires "re­gard­less of that per­son's iden­tity. The fire direc­torate, he added, re­vealed the "real causes" of ev­ery fire in its re­port, which is "sup­ported by ev­i­dence like pho­tos and sam­ples and tes­ti­monies of eye­wit­nesses." The re­ports, which he said were pro­duced "with­out any pres­sure," were pub­lished in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of In­te­rior's Crim­i­nal Ev­i­dence De­part­ment. Mekrad said the num­ber of de­lib­er­ate fires in 2016 reached 409.

Iron cut

Mekrad at­trib­uted most of fire in­ci­dents in build­ings un­der con­struc­tion to the way the iron was cut in­side the site, caus­ing sparks to start fire when they land on woods. This same rea­son caused the fire in­ci­dents in Sabah Al-Salem Univer­sity City, Kuwait Credit Bank un­der con­struc­tion build­ing and an­other tower site in Sharq, down­town, he said. Mekrad said work­ers should not cut the iron in­side the project. But if they want to, he added, they should make sure the sparks would not reach the huge amount of woods used in the project.

The garages fire in the Sharq In­dus­trial area was due to an elec­tri­cal short cir­cuit in one of the garages' air con­di­tion unit, Mekrad men­tioned, adding that the area's poor or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture has de­layed the ar­rival of fire­fight­ing squads on time thus al­lowed the fire to ex­pand fur­ther and be­come dif­fi­cult to deal with. "I have urged for re­moval of this poor area due to its sen­si­tive lo­ca­tion in the cap­i­tal's cen­ter, pos­ing a ma­jor risk on the safety of build­ings and peo­ple," he said, stress­ing the im­por­tance of build­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate and spe­cial area for car garages.

Se­vere vi­o­la­tions

Mean­while, Mekrad af­firmed that KFSD per­forms its tasks to the fullest, in­clud­ing search op­er­a­tions, which cov­ered 13,991 fa­cil­i­ties, cur­rent and un­der con­struc­tion, and stor­ages in 2016. Some 655 were re­ferred to pros­e­cu­tion due to se­vere vi­o­la­tions, prompt­ing sus­pen­sion of their files and trans­ac­tions, he said, adding that around 21 fa­cil­i­ties so far have been closed down in 2017, in­clud­ing stor­ages, ware­houses, com­pa­nies, ho­tels, med­i­cal clin­ics, fac­to­ries, and cel­lars.

Mekrad also praised a num­ber of state sec­tors, in­clud­ing Kuwait Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, En­vi­ron­ment Pub­lic Author­ity, Pub­lic Author­ity for In­dus­try, Pub­lic Author­ity of Agri­cul­ture Af­fairs and Fish Re­sources, En­vi­ron­ment Po­lice, and Re­movals Com­mit­tee for their co­op­er­a­tion with KFSD in clos­ing down some fa­cil­i­ties that were not com­mit­ted to pre­cau­tion­ary re­quire­ments.

"Right now, we are work­ing on re­mov­ing se­vere and haz­ardous vi­o­la­tions in In­dus­trial Su­laibiya area that pose great dan­ger on the safety of the so­ci­ety," he noted. He noted the great ef­forts ex­erted by the Direc­torate's me­dia and press de­part­ment in pro­mot­ing aware­ness cam­paigns.

Non-com­mit­ment to safety stan­dards and re­quire­ments is ac­tu­ally a prob­lem, Mekrad said, not­ing that the Direc­torate has voiced strong mes­sages that stressed the im­por­tance of hav­ing fire ex­tin­guish­ers in­side houses. He also ex­pressed his dis­con­tent with the cur­rent pun­ish­ments in the Fire Law, adding that the Direc­torate is cur­rently work­ing to draft a new law that would in­crease fi­nan­cial and trans­ac­tional pun­ish­ments.

— KFSD pho­tos

KUWAIT: A fire lad­der is used to put out a blaze which erupted in a pa­per fac­tory in Ah­madi in­dus­trial area on Fri­day. Fire­men put out the blaze in Ah­madi. A fire­fighter bat­tles the blaze in Ah­madi. A fire­man bat­tles a blaze in a chalet in Nuwaiseeb Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Fire­men bat­tle a blaze in a garage in the Sharq In­dus­trial area.

Fire en­gulfs a 1,000-square-me­ter site in Amghara.

Fire­fight­ers bat­tle fires with courage, risk­ing their lives to save oth­ers.

A fire­man faces a wall of smoke and flames while ex­tin­guish­ing a blaze in a garage in the Sharq In­dus­trial area.

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