Appreciation for the service of the fire department

Through the columns of your daily, I would like to draw attention to the recent incident that took place at Mowb 1 Colony, Itanagar, at around 3:45 pm on 2 January, 2021. My neighbour’s house, which is a couple of yards away from mine, caught fire. It was an annexe to the main quarters.
It is important to mention that the quarters of our colony date back to the 1980s, closely located near together. So a fire accident could prove to be extremely fatal. In that chaos, I found the entire neighbourhood gather and help the house that caught fire and the houses around to take out their LPG cylinders whilst trying in their own capacity to control the flames to spread any farther. In the nick of time, the electric department also cut off the line.
To read about fire accidents in newspapers and to experience it personally vastly differs. We trembled at the sight of the rise and heat of the flames and anxiously prayed for the fire brigade’s arrival. People frantically dialled the number to reach the fire department as the flames grew bigger. Within minutes, we heard the siren and watched in awe how the firemen with the help of IRBn extinguished the flames before it could turn into a conflagration.
Having witnessed the firemen work with expertise from close proximity, I think it wouldn’t be wrong if I express gratitude to them on behalf of our neighbourhood for controlling and saving us from an accident that could have gravely impaired property or caused serious injury to someone if not for their timely action.
If I may add more, this fire incident highlighted two major concerns that one couldn’t help but notice. First, the lack of town planning: the quarters are built on a hilltop. The main road gives access to a vehicle to the bottom half of the colony, while for the remaining part above, one has to use the concrete stairs.
I have always feared if such an accident like that of that day’s occurs where a two-wheeler can’t reach, how will a vehicle as big as a fire brigade? Ironic, but fortunately, the house that caught fire is located slightly above the main road. This still made many question in the crowd if the pipeline is long enough.
The second issue that proposed itself brilliantly today is the lack of width of the road for vehicles like trucks, school buses and fire brigade to access a proper pass. It is always a raucous scene when a vehicle of such big a size has to make a turn. For when I say there is lack of space, I mean houses, shops and garages occupying half of the road.
As I have previously mentioned, the lack of town planning, there is no space for parking. People park their cars and two wheelers on the side track in a precarious position, leaving their vehicles at the mercy of drivers, which many a time has caused uphill traffic. It is not new when this lack of space has instigated accidents in our colony or a vehicle of large size has accidentally hit a house. A private house with a nice courtyard and a parking spot is an enviable feat in our growing capital.
While being ambitious, can we least of all have the common sense to not convert our lanes into pavements? A home is not a home if it isn’t safe.
Amidst all the commotion, we did find relief in the collective camaraderie along with the heroes that saved the day.
Mum Tatak
Asst Professor,
Geku, Upper Siang