152 fires erupted in Istanbul factories in 2018
Some 152 fires erupted in Istanbul factories in 2018 mainly due to electrical faults, according to data provided by the Istanbul Fire Brigade, with experts warning of a trend among financially embattled firms setting their factories on fire to claim money from insurance companies.
“By November 2018, 148 factory fires erupted in Istanbul in the year. Major reasons behind the fires include failing to renew outworn equipment, not changing the polyurethane material with fire-resistant ones and not taking necessary precautions,” Turkey’s Foundation for Fire Protection head Abdurrahman Kılıç said.
“The annual average of the number of factory fires in Istanbul is between 140 and 160, and 10 to 12 percent of these are classified as arson,” he added.
“According to evaluations, only 40 to 45 percent of the factories are insured. In factories where there is production, the risk of fires breaking out is high. The important thing is to prevent fires from spreading,” he said.
Automatic fire extinguishing systems, automatic fire detection systems and smoke removal systems are compulsory for preventing fires, Kılıç stressed.
“When the economy is unstable and markets fluctuate, companies find it increasingly difficult to sell their products and may declare bankruptcy. Thus, firms see arson as a solution,” said Mustafa Nazlıer, a fire insurance expert and a member of National Fire Protection Association (ASFP).
“Apart from arsons, fires that erupt due to electrical faults are also high in number. A reason for this is the use of materials bought from China. When non-experts assemble the materials, fires become inevitable,” he added.
Over the last decade, 575 factory fires have erupted in Istanbul, the Istanbul Fire Brigade said.
In 2017, the number of fires was 166, while in 2016 the number was 153.