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Fire at HSIA: A security image concern

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13th-Aug-2017       
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A FIRE break out at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Friday caused suspension of airport operations for three hours. The incident is an ominous sign for fire safety at the country's prime international doorway.

Quoting Civil Aviation Authority, news media said at least 10 flights, including one dedicated for pilgrims, were delayed while staffers of different offices, several hundred passengers, including pilgrims, were asked to leave. Either the incident may a sabotage or accident which should be a case of investigation, but the panic so-created by the incident which denigrated the airport's image could not be regained unless visible and optimum fire safety systems are introduced.

Police and Airport Officials said the fire originated at the station office of Indian flag carrier airline - Air India -- on the second floor of the terminal building-2 about 1:30pm, causing huge smoke and subsequently fire. The Airport Officials said that the fire also damaged the office property of Emirates and Saudi Airlines on the same floor.

Apart from the Civil Aviation Authority-backed fire-fighters, ten high-end fire engines from the Fire Services were employed to fight the fire. The firefighters acted promptly. Two probe committees have been formed to know the cause of the fire. We hope the report would be made public and the recommendations would be followed infallibly.

In March 2016, a committee was formed to step up the standard of the airport following UK's bar of cargo flights on the grounds of poor security. The UK's Aviation then said Dhaka Airport had failed to meet the required security standards in different categories: passenger and staff screening process at the terminal were ineffective with the screener not duly focusing on the task, body searches were consistently poor and similar poor standards of screening of passengers and cabin bags.

Definitely the nature and the underlying causes of the fire must be found out and the people guilty for the incident should get due punishment. It is now an agreed fact that upgrading the fire safety equipment and regular monitoring of the equipment are most needed. Besides, such upgrading of fire-fighting capacity at all other airports and public transport installations is equally essential without loss of time for reasons of public safety.

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