The National Fire Protection Association has blamed the use of recycled copper and PVC material in wire manufacturing by the unbranded players as the major cause for fire at residential and industrial units.

The building wire market is estimated about ₹20,000 crore and 35 per cent of the market is dominated by unorganised players.

There are multiple reasons for electrical fires in residential, commercial or Industrial buildings such as overloading, loose connections, insulation damage, failure, poor quality of conductor, insulation and human error.

Gopal Rao, former Director, RSP Design Consultants, said selection of conductor material and size based on the load, choice of appropriate insulation and quality control during manufacturing governs the performance of an electrical equipment.

“Good quality wires with all due technical considerations, should last the lifetime of the building if the usage pattern is not altered. The selection is utmost importance and the same should be based on compliance with the latest Indian or International standards,” he said.

Overloading circuit

The common cause of overloading a circuit is due to drawing higher than the nominal current by circuit elements such as MCB, switch and the wire. This overloading leads to PVC insulation failure which results in bare live circuit conductors coming in contact with each other leading to a short circuit resulting in an abnormally large flow of current.

Invariably, in all major fire accidents, most of the human casualties occur due to suffocation caused by the inhalation of toxic smoke leading to hypoxia and even anoxia.

“Consumers must insist on wires with Class two conductors. Wires with PVC or low smoke PVC insulation should be avoided and the conductor should be EC grade copper with 99.97 purity,” he said.

He also advised not to overload the sockets by using multi-pin sockets which can result in the circuit drawing total load in excess of 70 per cent of the nominal socket or wire rating.