Firefighting operation continues in Ghazipur landfill
The blaze that broke out on Monday continued in some parts of the Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi on Tuesday morning even as two fire tenders and firefighters remained there throughout the night to douse it completely. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee was expected to submit its report by Tuesday afternoon. The government on Monday ordered the agency to probe the fire and submit the report within 24 hours.
The fire department said four more fire tenders and over a dozen firemen were being sent to control the blaze and prevent it from spreading further. “As of now, two fire tenders are present at the fire spot and continuing the cooling operation,” said Delhi fire services chief Atul Garg.
A police officer, who did not want to be named, said a First Information Report has been registered under Indian Penal Code’s Sections 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) against unknown people. “Once the blaze is controlled and the cooling operation is over, our investigation team will begin the probe to ascertain the exact cause of the fire. Investigators will record the statement of the private security guards who are deployed at the landfill. They will also scan the footage of cameras installed at the landfill. The objective is to find out what triggered the fire and if any mischief was involved,” the officer said. He added there were no deaths or injuries.
Nearly 40 firefighters and nine fire tenders were rushed to the landfill on Monday. Over half a dozen earthmovers were also pressed into service.
Officials said the operation was tricky. They said that since the fire was spread to nearly 200 metres, it was not easy for the firefighters to take the fire tenders to the exact spots. Climbing to any place on the trash hill was also risky as the firefighters were unsure about the solidity. They were working from a distance. The water used for firefighting made the area swampy. “Nine fire tenders worked till midnight. Thereafter, we called back seven of them as the area turned swampy and we could not take any risk. It was difficult to send more tenders during the night because the road also became swampy and the vehicles could have gotten stuck,” said a second officer, requesting anonymity.
Four fires were reported last year at Ghazipur landfill spread across 70 acres. At 50 metres, it is India’s tallest. Experts have repeatedly called for flattening the waste mountain, citing environmental, health, and structural risks. A section of the mound collapsed in September 2017 and left two people dead.
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