Apartment building on fire in Aktau09 december 2014, 23:52
A fire in an apartment building in Aktau in Western Kazakhstan has destroyed the 6th floor of the building, Tengrinews reports.
According to witnesses, the fire started at around 5:30 p.m. on December 8 in the apartment building number 23 in the 13th microraion. The fire started in one of the apartments and spread to the roof and the whole 6th floor. 20 residents of the apartment building were evacuated and are now staying at Victory hotel located in the neighbourhood.
6 out of 25 apartments were affected by fire and flooded while the firefighters were putting out the fire. Witness said that the fire was probably caused by welding works on the upper floor of the building. The residents claimed that they saw two workers there. Others believe the fire was caused by a short circuit.
“There were renovations works on the upper floors. Some say that the fire started there. When the fire started I was at home and heard a commotion outside. When I stepped out I saw flames. No one seemed to be on the way to inform us about the fire. If school children where at home by themselves, they would not have gotten out,” a resident of the apartment building Ainur said.
Deputy Akim (Mayor) Suyundik Aldashev reported that there were no causalities. Aldashev who is now leading the crisis center for liquidation of the fire aftermath said that the residents of the apartment building received temporary housing and hot meals.
“We have gathered all the residents at the crisis center. Currently, we are working on providing hot meals and housing. We have been asking who has relatives nearby and who doesn't. Those who do not have friends or relatives nearby are going to stay in a hotel or other apartments. Hot meals are provided at Victory hotel situated close to the apartment building. We brought all residents there,” Aldashev explained.
The house has been cut off from all the utility networks. Local police is on duty during nighttime to prevent looting. “Residents will entrust their apartments to officers from the DIA, local police and Emergency Situations Department that will be on duty today. The apartment building is under surveillance. The crisis center will work round the clock. The residents have all the contact numbers. The Akim of the Oblast ordered to make sure all the residents have a place to stay while the apartment building is being restored,” the Deputy Akim said.
In the meanwhile, the residents complain about the inefficiency of the firefighters. According to the residents, it took firefighters around half an hour to get to the place. But even after their arrival, the firefighters were inefficient. Besides, people were outraged with the fact that the firefighters used water instead of foam. “They were using old equipment. This kind of fire required fire-fighting foam. They could have saved all the apartments. But instead they used water and spoilt everything inside the house,” Tumba internet portal cited one of the residents as saying.
The methods used by the firefighters, according to the residents, caused more damage in the building than the fire itself. It was the roof of the building that had the fire, but in the end even the first floor of the building was flooded completely by the water used by the firefighters.
The Head of the Department of Emergency Situations in Mangystau Oblast Kazhymukan Kosbayev confirmed that the residents complained about the work of the firefighting brigades. “We recorded everything: when the first call was received and when the first brigade arrived. All firefighting hydrants worked properly. We also used Victory hotel’s hydrants. We did not have any issues with water supply or machinery,” Kosbayev said.
The first firefighting brigade, according to Kosbayev, arrived to the site seven minutes after the first call. “It was very windy today, 19 meters per second, and when the firefighters arrived, 800 square meters in the building were on fire. (…) We evacuated 40 people from all the apartments. In one hour and a half the fire was contained. We prevented the fire from spreading to the lower floors. The cause of the fire and the extent of the property damage are being determined by experts,” Kosbayev explained.
The fire will be evaluated by a special committee. And the Department of Emergency Situations will conduct an investigation.
Aldashev said that it was too early to criticise the firefighters. “Certainly, it is understandable. The residents are very emotional at the moment. We will find the cause of the fire and give evaluate the firefighters after the investigation is completed,” Aldashev concluded.
By Gyuzel Kamalova