Amusement Park Fire in India Reflects a Prevailing Crisis

Street fire on creative commons (unrelated to amusement park fire)
Street fire on creative commons (unrelated to amusement park fire)

On Saturday, May 25, a deadly fire in an amusement park in Rajkot, India, killed 27 people as per the current investigation by the local police. Out of the discovered dead, four of them were children under the age of 12. According to The New York Times, families were out to celebrate the beginning of summer vacation with an all-you-can-play deal, when the park’s trampolines and bowling lanes were engulfed in flames. As of now, the owner and manager of the amusement park have been detained, and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

“We were bowling when two staff members told us there was a fire on the ground and we should leave,” Pruthvirajsinh Jadeja, a surviving witness, stated on The Indian Express. “The area was soon full of smoke.” What remained of the place was charred or collapsed, and the building’s outlines barely resembled its conditions before the event.

Just a few hours later, another massive fire, also of unclear origins, took the lives of seven newborns in a children’s hospital in New Delhi. As the fire broke out, the staff were left to protect the hospital’s children on their own, unable to rely on fire-response departments to save them. With these two events, incidents of similar nature are beginning to resurface on the internet to highlight a safety crisis in India. According to India’s report on fire safety, over 20 fire-related deaths occur daily. Especially as the country heats up as summer approaches, urban centers often fight fires caused by short circuits.

These adverse conditions result from a lack of fire stations, staff, and water in India. According to a 2019 report from the Indian Parliament, India only has 3,377 fire stations instead of the 8,559 needed, 55,000 workers instead of 500,000, and 7,300 vehicles instead of 33,000. The statistics are aided by the devastating fact that even drinking water is often scarce in India, leaving little available to combat the large outbreaks of fires when they occur. Five years have passed since the report was first released, and it is unsure how many of these conditions have been alleviated. However, with India announcing the initiation of a $600 million plan to fund the fire-response sector that was announced last year, it seems that large gaps to fill remain. Nevertheless, the program shows the central government’s efforts to improve India’s fire-safety situation and reduce fire-related deaths.

Adding onto the problem, The New York Times reports that “in one state, after a fire killed at least 10 babies in a neonatal care unit, assessments found that more than 80 percent of the state’s hospitals had never carried out fire safety audits; half had never conducted fire drills; and only a few had fire safety certificates.” Hospitals, often acting as havens for injured patients to rely on and heal, are endangering people and becoming largely unreliable facilities. While the lack of resources is one problem, it is apparent that many of India’s institutions are not fulfilling their responsibilities to help prepare for potential disasters.

In the face of the country’s rapid urbanization, safety protocols are being neglected, leading to a situation in which families must enter all buildings with caution. Although the recent developments in India’s industries are not negative per se, the lack of corresponding growth in the fire-response sector is endangering millions in India’s remarkably growing population. Fire regulations must be strongly enforced to combat this issue and allow the country’s citizens to live without fear that a fire could take their lives at any moment. 

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About the Contributor
Jehee Nam
Jehee Nam, Staff Writer
Jehee Nam ('27) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. She worked as a copyeditor for Tiger Tales, the TMS school newspaper and is excited to continue her work as a writer. In her spare time she enjoys listening to a variety of music and talking to her friends.