Workers killed in Istanbul construction fire ‘secondarily responsible’ for their death: Expert report
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL / Radikal
DHA PhotoAn expert report has suggested that workers killed in a fire at an Istanbul shopping mall construction site in 2012 were secondarily responsible for their own death, as a new court hearing into the fire was held on June 6.
A total of 11 workers were killed inside tents at the construction site of the Marmara Park shopping mall in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district, after a fire swept through the site, engulfing the workers as they slept.
The workers had reportedly been asked to take sponge beds out of their tents. When later told to bring the beds back inside, they piled the beds on a bunk next to the tent’s only door, which made it difficult to enter and exit the tent. When the fire erupted, the beds slipped and closed the door and the workers were unable to leave their tents, according to the report.
The workers were partly at fault in the incident as they blocked the entrance with the sponge beds during the fire, the report added.
“The workers risked their lives by piling the burnable sponge beds in the doorway and subsequently they died,” stated the report, prepared by work safety inspector Cafer Tekbaş, legal expert Süleyman Ayhan, and Prof. Seyhan Fırat.
The number one cause of the fire was the unsafe condition of the tents, the report also stated, finding the construction company, Kaldem İnşaat, guilty for this situation.
The tents were covered by easily burnable plastics and the fact that they had only one exit was “unacceptable,” the report added.
The electric heaters used in tents, the lamps placed close to the beds and electric cables could have been the primary cause of the fire, it also said.
The manager of the construction site, Abdullah Altun was identified as the primary person responsible for the accident, while work safety coordinator Cem Yıllar, electrical installer Şaban Bakırcı, company official Kadir Altun, who had a role in piling the beds next to the doors, and Erdal Gümüş, who was site manager of subcontractor company, were all identified as secondary individuals responsible.