Security personnel of Almaty's flea market failed to alarm firefighters immediately: Bozhko 26 ноября 2013, 11:15
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The Minister of Emergency Situations of Kazkahstan Vladimir Bozhko. ©Yaroslav Radlovsky
Security personnel of Almaty's flea market that was on fire on November 17, did not call the firefighters for about an hour after the fire started, trying to extinguish it on their own, KazTAG reports citing the Minister of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan Vladimir Bozhko.
"I am sorry to say this, but the security service of the flea market was running around instead of calling the fire emergency team immediately. First they were trying to find each other and inform each other about the fire, then they tried to extinguish the fire and open the containers on their own. But as the time went by the fire was spreading. Fire has a physical property: heat value of burning things every minute and the speed of spreading grows exponentially," Vladimir Bozhko said.
The Minister is indignant that there are people who are trying to blame the fire on the firefighting services' allegedly poor inspection of the markets and on insufficiency of fire prevention measures taken beforehand.
"I think that we should be grateful to the firefighters; they have to fight the consequences of slovenliness and negligence of businessmen who ignore interests of merchants working in the flea market. They are the ones who should be blamed. Their greediness for gain overcomes all the conceivable and inconceivable boundaries," the Minister said.
The recent fire on November 17 damaged Zhana Kulager, Aral and Eurasia sections of the Almaty flea market. The fire started during the night, presumably at 3 a.m., but was stopped from spreading only hours later at 11:08 a.m. The total area of the fire made 3800 square meters.
300 firefighters and 41 fire engines were involved in the firefighting operation and emergency rescue works of the Emergency Situations Department of Almaty. A KA-32 helicopter of KazAviaSpas emergency service helped extinguish the fire during the whole day until it started getting dark. The helicopter was releasing water onto the fire area. Its made the total of 49 water discharges of 3 tons each. Another helicopter of the Almaty rescue service was also used during the fire extinguishing; it released water 17 times (3 tons each time). 30 tons of additional water was delivered in a tank train. Additional water pipelines were laid too.
Vice-Minister of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan Zhanbolat Smailov personally led the alarm response team of the Ministry of Emergency Situations that worked at the Almaty flea market fire site.