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Long-term solution to tackle fire mooted

The recent major fire at the massive garbage dump at Ariyamangalam here lasting several days causing torrid times to residents in its vicinity has prompted firefighters to moot a long-term solution to tackle such situation in future.

Having battled for nine consecutive days within the dump premises braving intense heat and thick smokes billowing out from the huge garbage mounds, firefighters feel that an hydrant system could be installed around the 47-acre garbage yard which would drastically reduce time taken to extinguish the raging flames and smoke with minimal manpower strength.

The recent fire within the Ariyamangalam dump where mounds of garbage went up in flames spewing thick smoke engulfing several areas nearby necessitated day and night operations by teams of firefighters aided by water lorries provided by the Corporation.

Around 80 firefighters, including some drawn from neighbouring Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai districts, were engaged in batches continuously using 14 fire-tenders and over 20 water lorries given the magnitude of the situation, say the Fire and Rescue Services department officials.

Having to cover a vast area filled with garbage mounds, including plastic and industrial waste, it was undoubtedly a challenging task for the firefighters to carry out the operation wearing masks even as fire kept spreading to nearby mounds.

The real challenge for the firefighters was to identify the “seat of fire” amid a huge area with fire spreading rapidly, said an official. This is not the first time that the Ariyamangalam dump, which has been in existence for over two decades, has seen such a major fire.

Similar instances of massive scale of fire were reported in 2013 and 2014 as well with residential localities in its vicinity having to bear the brunt of severe pollution.

Tonnes of garbage collected from various parts of the city are being dumped at the huge site every day.

In the wake of the recent incident, the district administration called for a detailed report from the firefighters as well who had worked on the field to address the issue on a long-term basis, said the sources.

Firefighters suggest that a hydrant system with additional provision of water jet monitors covering vantage points around the dump and associated facilities including a overhead water with 7 lakh litre capacity, a fire pump to monitor and control the situation swiftly could be the best bet as a long term measure in the wake of such recurring instances.

“The system should be connected with underground water pipelines to spray water instantly in case of a major fire without having to wait for the fire tenders to reach the spot,” said a senior official.

The water jet monitors could be deployed at nearly 40 vulnerable points within the yard which were close to residential localities.

The monitors would “throw” water in a diagonal manner on the garbage mounds which would cool the area checking spread of fire, say the officials.

The firefighters feel that the garbage mounds could be compartmentalised more as this would enable free movement of fire tenders inside and minimising spread of fire. Fire fighters have different classification for fire with the Ariyamangalam dump falling under the “A” class. Class “B” is for oil, Class “C” for gas and Class “D” for metal.


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