Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Paraguay accused of ignoring fire safety


CLIENTS AND contractors in Paraguay fail to take fire safety engineering seriously, a local fire engineer has warned.

'In South America we are copying the architects of the first world without complying with the same safety standards, ' said International Fire Safety Consulting director Eduardo Alvarez.

Alvarez was speaking at a fire engineering conference in Madrid, organised by the Association of Professional Fire Engineers (APICI).

Alvarez said National Fire Protection Association codes were ignored at the Ycuß Bola±os supermarket in Paraguay, where on 1 August 2004 a fire broke out, killing 426 people and injuring 477.

The supermarket was built in 2001 and appeared very modern.

But in terms office safety it performed very badly, Alvarez told delegates.

'Construction is done for the aesthetic, and anything that cannot be seen does not matter, ' he said.

The fire started on a grill in the supermarket kitchen.

Three blocked fire exits hampered evacuation efforts.

The polyurethane secondary ceiling completely burned away.

There were no sprinklers and annual fire service inspections, called for in NFPA codes, were not carried out.

Alvarez also criticised clients for failing to seeking specialist advice .

'People have got to comply with codes voluntarily. A culture change is needed, ' he said.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.