Committee to probe extent of fire damage in Wadi Kabir

The major fire that broke out at one of the scrap yards in the Wadi Kabir industrial area on Thursday has called for a rethinking on the mixed-use townships. It took hours for firefighters from the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) to bring the situation under control and extinguish the fire completely.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported even though a large number of vehicles were completely burnt without recognition.
Some officials from the Muscat Governorate are investigating the extent of the damage to the industrial area and a committee has been formed, involving several agencies, to conduct a study on protecting the industrial area from such incidents in the future.
Priyanka Senaratne, an owner of a garage for premium vehicles in Wadi Kabir, said the fire broke out from a scrapyard. “There should be strict regulations for conducting such activities. Several small-time businesses lost heavily in the fire as already the market is witnessing a slump.”

RELOCATE
Speaking to the Observer, some residents said such incidents are waiting to happen, and it is time to relocate the industrial area from the residential neighbourhood.
A mechanic employed at one of the garages, said, “Even if the park cannot be relocated keeping the interests in the businesses in trying circumstances, some planning has to be made. For example, activities that involve the use and storage of hazardous materials should be given special care and attention.”

STRENUOUS EFFORTS
PACDA added that the situation was brought under control after strenuous efforts, with the participation of authorities from the Royal Oman Police and other agencies.
Thick smoke engulfed the Wadi Kabir and parts of the CBD and MBD areas on Thursday afternoon, with black clouds visible even from Al Qurum and Al Amerat.
According to sources, the fire broke out in the Wadi Kabir Industrial Area where some old and redundant cars are stored, which were destroyed in the incident.
Residents said the situation was dangerous and would have led to some fatalities, and urged the municipality to remove vehicles which are left behind by their owners in parking lots across the city. “These vehicles are sitting for anti-socials and vandals,” said a manager of a supermarket in the area.
“The entire industrial area of Wadi Kabir is supposed to have moved away for a long time. This is the last thing that the catastrophe of this scale happened,” said a citizen.
The Environment Authority should look into the situation, said a few citizens and residents, while the Muscat Electricity and Distribution Company (MEDC) managed to restore power supply, which was briefly disrupted in some areas.

MORE FIRE INCIDENTS
An advertising billboard placed on the pedestrian bridge at Al Khuwair caught fire on Friday evening. A similar incident was reported from a restaurant the same day in Seeb.